Monday, May 13, 2013

Volunteers Help Restore Max Patch in Pisgah National Forest

The U.S. Forest Service today announced the recent completion of work to repair the scenic Max Patch area of the Appalachian Ranger District, Pisgah National Forest.

“Working with Forest Service personnel, dozens of volunteers donated close to 300 hours of service to help restore this popular site, and we’re grateful for their help,” said Acting District Ranger David McFee. “This partnership between the Forest Service and cooperating volunteers shows the combined commitment to protect, restore and improve the beauty of Max Patch.”

The Appalachian Ranger District collaborated with a number of volunteer organizations including the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, Carolina Mountain Club and Appalachian 4x4 Club to repair parts of Max Patch. Last winter, damage occurred to the Max Patch area when off-highway vehicles were driven in the area. The people responsible for the crime were found and cited.

The Forest Service and volunteers worked together to design a parking area that provides pedestrian access. The repair work also included the creation of a perimeter using native stones and plantings of Catawba rhododendron and mountain laurel. This project was made possible from funding by the Forest Service, Appalachian Trail Conservancy and Carolina Mountain Club. The Carolina Mountain Club and Appalachian 4x4 Club provided 50 volunteers who donated over 280 hours to restore the site with native plantings and soil stabilization. The work was completed over the course of three weeks.

Aspects of the project that could not be completed with volunteers were solicited through a contract administered by the Forest Service and awarded to a local contractor.

Max Patch sits next to the Tennessee state line in the Harmon Den area. At 4,629 feet this bald offers 360-degree vistas of Mount Mitchell to the east and Great Smoky Mountains to the southwest. An abundance of ferns and grasses blanket the bald, making it perfect for picnics. Fishing is offered at the pond past the main parking lot. Camping is prohibited at the bald. The Appalachian Trail crosses this area.

Hiking in the Smokies

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