Sunday, November 18, 2018

The Invention of Carrarmato: Almost All Hikers Still Wear Them

A deadly climbing accident in 1935 led to the invention of one of the most important pieces of hiking gear - one that nearly every hiker benefits from to this day. While descending a mountain in the Italian Alps an experienced climbing team was caught in a severe snowstorm. Unable to descend along the icy rock walls, six of the climbers died from exhaustion, exposure and frostbite. Distraught over the loss of his friends, the guide attempted to solve the problem the climbers encountered during that expedition with the invention of "Carrarmato", an Italian word that means “tank tread". The name of the guide and inventor, Vitale Bramani, offers a clue as to the name of the company and the more common name for the product that most hikers wear today. If you would like to learn more about this story, and many others associated with the history of hiking, you can read them in my new book, Ramble On: A History of Hiking, now available on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1725036266/



Jeff
HikingintheSmokys.com
RockyMountainHikingTrails.com
HikinginGlacier.com
TetonHikingTrails.com
Ramble On: A History of Hiking

Friday, November 16, 2018

Study: It's not trails that disturb forest birds, but the people on them

A new study has recently been published in Frontiers, an "Open Science platform", that you may also find interesting:

The first study to disentangle the effect of forest trails from the presence of humans shows the number of birds, as well as bird species, is lower when trails are used on a more regular basis. This is also the case when trails have been used for many years, suggesting that forest birds do not get used to this recreational activity. Published in Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, the finding suggests the physical presence of trails has less of an impact on forest birds than how frequently these recreational paths are used by people. To minimize the impact on these forest creatures, people should avoid roaming from designated pathways.

"We show that forest birds are quite distinctly affected by people and that this avoidance behavior did not disappear even after years of use by humans. This suggests not all birds habituate to humans and that a long-lasting effect remains," says Dr Yves Bötsch, lead author of this study, based at the Swiss Ornithological Institute, Sempach, Switzerland and affiliated with Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies, University Zurich, Switzerland. "This is important to show because pressure on natural habitats and nature protection areas is getting stronger and access bans are often ignored."

Many outdoor activities rely on infrastructure, with roads and trails being most common. Previous research has shown that trails cause habitat loss and fragmentation, where larger areas of habitat are dissected into smaller pieces thereby separating wildlife populations. However it has been difficult to say for certain whether it is the presence of trails or humans that have the most impact on forest birds.

Bötsch explains, "Previous studies provide conflicting results about the effects of trails on birds, with some studies showing negative effects while others do not. We thought differences in the intensity of human use may cause this discrepancy, which motivated us to disentangle the effect of trails from the presence of humans."

The researchers visited four forests with a similar habitat, such as the types of trees, but which differed in the levels of recreation. They recorded all birds heard and seen at points near to the trails, as well as within the forest itself, and found that a lower number of birds were recorded in the forests used more frequently by humans. In addition, they noticed certain species were more affected than others.

"Species with a high sensitivity, measured by flight initiation distance (the distance at which a bird exposed to an approaching human flies away), showed stronger trail avoidance, even in rarely frequented forests. These sensitive species were raptors, such as the common buzzard and Eurasian sparrowhawk, as well as pigeons and woodpeckers," says Bötsch.

He continues, "Generally it is assumed that hiking in nature does not harm wildlife. But our study shows even in forests that have been used recreationally for decades, birds have not habituated to people enough to outweigh the negative impact of human disturbance."

Bötsch concludes with some advice, which may help to minimize the adverse effects on forest birds by people who use forests recreationally.

"We believe protected areas with forbidden access are necessary and important, and that new trails into remote forest areas should not be promoted. Visitors to existing forest trails should be encouraged to adhere to a "stay on trail" rule and refrain from roaming from designated pathways."

Te original research article can be found here: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fevo.2018.00175/full

The corresponding author, Dr. Yves Bötsch from the Swiss Ornithological Institute, can be contacted here: yves.boetsch@vogelwarte.ch



Jeff
HikingintheSmokys.com
RockyMountainHikingTrails.com
HikinginGlacier.com
TetonHikingTrails.com
Ramble On: A History of Hiking

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Smokies Hosts Star Gazing Event at Cades Cove

Great Smoky Mountains National Park, in cooperation with the Smoky Mountain Astronomical Society, will offer a stargazing program in Cades Cove on Saturday, November 17, 2018 beginning at 5:30 p.m. Experienced astronomers and numerous telescopes will be on hand to provide a discovery of the fall sky’s position of stars, galaxies, and constellations, including the Milky Way. In case of rain or cloud cover where night skies are not visible, the program will be cancelled.

“National Park areas often offer a wonderful opportunity to stargaze,” said Superintendent Cassius Cash. “Parks across the country monitor and manage for natural night sky conditions in much the same way as we do to protect our air and water. Visitors are often amazed at the number of stars that can be seen simply by entering into the natural darkness of Great Smoky Mountains National Park.”

All participants should park at the orientation shelter at the entrance to the Cades Cove Loop Road. A park ranger will walk with the group one-third of a mile to a nearby field to the viewing location. As the Cades Cove Loop Road is closed at sunset to motor vehicles, participants are not allowed to drive to the viewing site or to park within the Loop Road.

Those planning to attend should wear comfortable walking shoes, dress warmly, and bring a flashlight. Participants are encouraged to bring a lawn chair or blanket for sitting, along with binoculars which can be used for stargazing. To preserve the integrity of the telescope lenses, smoking is not allowed near them. Carpooling is strongly encouraged as parking is limited.

The program is subject to postponement due to rain or cloud cover. If the weather is questionable, call the day of the event to confirm that the program will take place at 865-448-4104 or follow the park’s Facebook page at www.Facebook.com/GreatSmokyMountainsNPS.



Jeff
HikingintheSmokys.com
RockyMountainHikingTrails.com
HikinginGlacier.com
TetonHikingTrails.com
Ramble On: A History of Hiking

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Rainbow Falls Trail Reopens Today

After being partially closed over the last two years, the Rainbow Falls Trail will officially reopen today. A reopening ceremony will take place today at 10:00 am. Afterwards, the trail will be open to the public. Hikers will be able to take the trail to Rainbow Falls, or all the way up to the summit of Mt. LeConte.

The park trail crew rehabilitated targeted segments along the trail to improve visitor safety, stabilize eroding trail sections, and repair trail tread damaged by high winds and fire during the November 2016 wildfires. The crew installed over 350 steps through steep, narrow corridors, created nearly 600 feet of elevated trail surfaces, installed nearly 400 drainage elements, and placed over 1,000 native stones along the trail to create a durable, sustainable trail corridor. The much-needed rehabilitation also eliminated numerous, visitor-created side trails totaling over one mile in length that had resulted in eroded, off-trail paths creating confusion for hikers.

“The craftsmanship exhibited by the park trail crew is extraordinary,” said Deputy Superintendent Clay Jordan. “They create durable, functional trail corridors that support the high-volume hiker use of the Smokies in a manner that also reflects and protects the natural landscape.”

Numerous individuals partnered with the park trail crew to aid in rehabilitation efforts. Over the course of the two-year project, 44 American Conservation Experience youth interns contributed over 41,360 hours of service and 162 Volunteers contributed 1,576 hours of service.

Trails Forever is a partnership program between Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Friends of the Smokies. The Friends have donated over $1,500,000 to support the program, in part through the generosity of the Knoxville based Aslan Foundation. The Trails Forever program provides the opportunity for a highly skilled trail crew to focus reconstruction efforts on high use and high priority trails in the park including the recently restored Rainbow Falls Trail, Alum Cave Trail, Chimney Tops Trail, and Forney Ridge Trail. The program also provides a mechanism for volunteers to work alongside the trail crew on these complex trail projects to assist in making lasting improvements to preserve the trails for future generations.

In 2019, the Trail Forever crew will begin a 2-year rehabilitation project on the popular Trillium Gap Trail among other critical trail work across the park on trails such as the Deep Creek Trail, Rough Fork Trail, Smokemont Trail, and Noah Bud Ogle Trail. Due to the rehabilitation process on Trillium Gap Trail, a full closure will be necessary for the safety of both the crew and visitors. The Trillium Gap Trail and associated parking areas will be closed May 6, 2019 through November 14, 2019, excluding federal holidays, on Monday mornings at 7:00 a.m. through Thursday evenings at 5:30 p.m. weekly. The trail will be fully open each week on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

For more information about the Trails Forever program, please visit https://home.nps.gov/grsm/getinvolved/supportyourpark/trails-forever-volunteer.htm.



Jeff
HikingintheSmokys.com
RockyMountainHikingTrails.com
HikinginGlacier.com
TetonHikingTrails.com
Ramble On: A History of Hiking

Blue Ridge Parkway Announces Tanbark Tunnel Closure

In the midst of multiple weather related closures at the southern end of the Blue Ridge Parkway, National Park Service officials announce that Tanbark Tunnel at Milepost 374.4 is closed to all uses until further notice due to a piece of the tunnel’s natural rock ceiling coming loose.

The National Park Service and Federal Highway Administration are in the process of assessing the issue and will determine what repairs are needed. To effectively route Parkway visitors away from the tunnel, the closure will extend from Milepost 355.3 at N.C. Route 128 to Milepost 375.6 at Ox Creek Road.

The detached rock fragment, discovered during this weekend’s weather related closure, is approximately four feet by three feet and up to 12 inches thick. The rock has not fallen to the road and is currently being held by a steel netting and rock bolt safety system installed on the tunnel ceiling for this very reason, to catch any falling rock. However, due to the significant weight of the rock, and the stress it is currently putting on the safety system, repairs must be made prior to re-opening to visitors.

Weather permitting, Mt. Mitchell State Park will remain open and accessible while tunnel repairs are underway. Specific information regarding daily closures, related to Tanbark Tunnel, weather, or for any other reason, is available on the Parkway’s Real Time Road Map, found at www.nps.gov/maps/blri/road-closures/ .



Jeff
HikingintheSmokys.com
RockyMountainHikingTrails.com
HikinginGlacier.com
TetonHikingTrails.com
Ramble On: A History of Hiking

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

The True Realities of Women’s Hiking Attire During The Victorian Era

The following is a short excerpt from my new book, Ramble On: A History of Hiking:

For women, hiking attire during the Victorian Era was an extremely complicated affair. The subject was frequently discussed and debated throughout the pages of Appalachia during the first decade of the Appalachian Mountain Club. The December 1887 issue of Appalachia ran a lengthy article by Mrs. L. D. Pychowska on the “walking-costume for ladies.” It provided head to toe advice on how women should dress for a hike. This included wearing a grey flannel trouser beneath two skirts. The under skirt, which reached to just below the knee, was also to be made of grey flannel. The outer skirt, however, was to be made of winsey or Kentucky jean, both of which were considered to be strong enough to withstand tears from walking through briers and undergrowth. The outer skirt was also meant to be worn to ankle length. However, if the hiker were to find herself climbing steep terrain she could simply pull out a strong clasp pin and raise the skirt higher, “washwomen fashion,” until the difficult section was completed. “Basquines,” or corsets, were optional apparel according to the author. At the end of the piece the writer assured her readers that her recommendations on female tramping attire would be “sufficiently presentable to enter a hotel or a railroad car” after a long tramp through the woods, “without attracting uncomfortable attention.”


The true realities of wearing a “costume” such as this were not considered or debated in Mrs. Pychowska’s article. Conversely, a passage in an article from the June 1877 issue of Appalachia put an exclamation point on the true dangers women faced as a result of the clothing they were forced to wear while tramping. The author related the story of a guided hike on Mt. Washington during the prior year. While descending Tuckerman Ravine one of the ladies in the group paused momentarily to stand atop a large rock above a 25-foot outcrop. Unbeknownst to the hiker, her tattered dress had become caught on a sharp protrusion on the rock. When she attempted to jump to another large rock the snag violently jolted her back, and left her dangling upside down above the abyss. Fortunately her mountain guide was nearby and was able to pull her to safety before falling.


In one particular instance the burdensome attire that women were expected to wear may have been at least partially responsible for the death of one hiker. On September 13, 1855, 22-year-old Lizzie Bourne of Kennebunk, Maine became the first woman to die while climbing Mt. Washington, and quite possibly the first woman to die while hiking in America. On that late summer day Lizzie had planned to hike to the Tip Top House atop Mount Washington with her uncle George and her cousin Lucy. As a result of early morning rain, however, the trio was forced to postpone the start of their trip. Just after lunch the weather finally cleared and they set out by trekking up the partially completed carriage road. However, as they continued towards the summit of the peak, the threesome encountered another round of bad weather while proceeding along the Glen House Bridle Path, which continued to worsen as they climbed higher. In a letter to the Boston Journal, which was intended to provide “a correct account of the whole affair,” George Bourne attested that as they ascended towards the summit, “Elizabeth began to show signs of weariness, and needed assistance.” As night fell upon the mountain, darkness and fog completely obscured the view of their destination. Fatigue had also crept in on each of the hikers. Not knowing where they were, or how far they were from their destination, the trio made the decision to lie down on the trail and wait out the night. Despite building a wind break from nearby rocks, George was convinced that each of them would perish due to the extreme cold and the violent wind. Indeed, that night, around ten o'clock, Lizzie quietly passed away while lying on the trail. In his letter to the Boston Journal, Bourne stated that it was “evident that Elizabeth did not die from the cold alone, but from some organic affection of the heart or lungs, induced by fatigue and exposure.”

With the arrival of daylight the next morning George and Lucy tragically discovered that they were within sight of the Tip Top House. Had they known that they were that close they could’ve easily made it to safety, and Lizzie likely would’ve survived. After her death tourists and hikers began piling stones on the spot where Ms. Bourne died. A stone monument now stands on that same spot to mark and commemorate her passing.

Did Lizzie’s attire contribute to her death? Perhaps. She wore a heavy skirt, petticoat, pantaloons and stockings. Nicholas Howe, author of Not Without Peril: 150 Years Of Misadventure On The Presidential Range Of New Hampshire, estimates that Lizzie may have worn as much as 45 yards of fabric! When this outfit became soaked in cold rain there’s no doubt this would’ve weighed her down, resulting in more stress on her heart, and certainly would have accelerated the effects of fatigue, exposure and hypothermia.

While Mrs. Pychowska was espousing the benefits of wearing the proper costume to coincide with the mores of the Victorian Era, there was a long debate, at least among female members in the Appalachian Mountain Club, about what women should wear while hiking. During the May 9th meeting chronicled in the June 1877 edition of Appalachia, a Miss Whitman suggested that skirts be designed in a manner so that they “could be shortened to any necessary extent by rolling it up.” A Mrs. Nowell discussed the “disadvantage of ladies on mountain excursions on account of their long skirts, and recommended the use of gymnasium dresses or something similar, as an outside garment for such occasions.” In that same edition of Appalachia, Mrs. W.G. Nowell, one of the founding members of the club, and presumably the same Mrs. Nowell who spoke out during the May 9th meeting, published an article titled, “A Mountain Suit for Women.” In this piece Harriet Nowell once again took issue with the garb women were expected to wear during this era. She also mentioned the discussions she had with other women about the impracticalities and dangers of women’s hiking attire. Apparently they had carefully deliberated over what their alternatives were, and presented one possible solution: “The only thing we could think of was a good flannel bathing suit.” Mrs. Nowell continued by stating that they “could not see why it should be more improper to wear this” suit while hiking, “than it would be along a crowded and fashionable beach.” She went on to make the point that women would be “relieved of the excessive weight of her ordinary dress,“ thus allowing them to carry their own gear. She concluded her piece by declaring that “Our dress has done all the mischief. For years it has kept us away from the glory of the woods and the grandeur of the mountain heights. It is time we should reform.”

An article published on the Tramp and Trail Club of Utica website notes that by the 1920s women had solved the problem of impractical skirts by stuffing them in knapsacks once they had reached the trailhead, and then putting them back on before returning to town. Bold and daring women eschewed skirts altogether and simply wore knickers with long socks from their home. An online exhibit on the Museum of the White Mountains at Plymouth State University website, titled, Taking the Lead: Women and the White Mountains, notes that skirts had virtually disappeared by the mid-1910s, and by the 1930s women were wearing clothes similar to what female hikers wear today, including shorts and halter tops.

Ramble On: A History of Hiking chronicles the history of the first hikers, trails and hiking clubs, as well as the evolution of hiking gear and apparel, including many other stories about the attire both men and women wore during the early years of the sport. You can find the book on Amazon by clicking here.



Jeff
HikingintheSmokys.com
RockyMountainHikingTrails.com
HikinginGlacier.com
TetonHikingTrails.com
Ramble On: A History of Hiking

Monday, November 12, 2018

National Parks Traveler Reviews "Ramble On"

Kurt Repanshek from the National Parks Traveler recently took the time to review my new book, Ramble On: A History of Hiking, which he published on his website yesterday. In case you're unaware, the National Parks Traveler is the leading, editorially independent, nonprofit media organization dedicated to covering national parks and other protected areas. The website is focused on informing the public of environmental, scientific, and other newsworthy developments surrounding, involving, and affecting national parks, other protected areas and their governing bodies.

Up front, Kurt stated it pretty bluntly that: "Hiking might seem rather bland as a topic to build a book around, but just as Terence Young did in 2017 with Heading Out: A History of American Camping, Doran's research brings to light some surprising hiking trivia." He continued later, stating,: "But Ramble On is more than a book of hiking trivia, though it is chock-full of that. Rather, it can be viewed as a vehicle for taking measure of where hiking got its start, why we hike, and what the future of the activity might look like as we crowd the outdoors."

To read the entire review, please click here.



Jeff
HikingintheSmokys.com
RockyMountainHikingTrails.com
HikinginGlacier.com
TetonHikingTrails.com
Ramble On: A History of Hiking

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Blue Ridge Parkway Announces Multiple Temporary Closures for Routine Maintenance

National Park Service maintenance personnel are conducting boom axe operations in multiple locations along the 469-mile Blue Ridge Parkway between now and the end of the year. Visitors should anticipate intermittent and temporary closures in active work zones as indicated. Both lanes of the Parkway will be closed to all activity (cars, bicycles, and hikers) in active work zones to ensure the safety of the maintenance workers as well as Parkway visitors.

Closure areas are as follows:

Milepost (from North to South) / Vicinity of (Dates)

Milepost 66 - 85  /  US 501 - VA Route 43 (Dec. 3 - 7)
Milepost 91 - 106  /  VA Route 43 - VA Route 460 (Nov. 26 - 29)
Milepost 112 - 120  /  VA Route 24 - US Route 220 (Dec. 3 - 21)
Milepost 120 - 136  /  Bent Mountain Area (Nov. 12 - 30)
Milepost 393 - 407  /  French Broad River to Buck Springs Tunnel (Nov. 15 - 28)

Affected sections close at approximately 8:00 a.m. each weekday and re-open daily by 4:30 p.m. EST in work zone areas. The road will be open on the weekend. Those who normally commute on the Parkway during the week may want to find alternate routes.

Annually, Blue Ridge Parkway maintenance and resource management staff conduct maintenance activities that help control vegetation growth along the Parkway. To help insure safe sight distances and a clear right-of-way, this work requires using a large tractor with a cutting head on a long arm, or boom. This tractor must remain in the travel lanes during operation to properly perform its work while cutting the banks and road shoulders.

Specific information regarding daily closures, related to this project or for any other reason, is available on the Parkway’s Real Time Road Map.



Jeff
HikingintheSmokys.com
RockyMountainHikingTrails.com
HikinginGlacier.com
TetonHikingTrails.com
Ramble On: A History of Hiking

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Anne's Travels Take on "Ramble On: A History of Hiking"

Earlier this week Anne Whiting, the author of Anne's Travels, published a review of my new book, Ramble On: A History of Hiking. Ms. Whiting, the author of three state-wide trail guides, is also the author of Anne's Travels, a blog that covers her hiking adventures across America. In fact, the blog is a very rich database chronicling hundreds of her hikes that are sorted by state. This is a great resource if you're heading to a new hiking destination and you want to find out what the best hikes are in order to make the most of your trip.

Anne concluded her review by stating: "Overall, I was very impressed with the amount of information packed into 206 pages.... It’s the perfect gift for someone who loves to hike or who loves American history. Or purchase it for yourself to immerse yourself in the history of hiking in America."

To read the entire review, please click here.



Jeff
HikingintheSmokys.com
RockyMountainHikingTrails.com
HikinginGlacier.com
TetonHikingTrails.com
Ramble On: A History of Hiking

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Globalstar Donates Next-Gen SPOT GPS Devices to Assist Appalachian Trail Conservancy with Backcountry Communication and Safety

Taking care of the remote areas of the Appalachian Trail (A.T.) became a bit safer today thanks to Globalstar’s donation of 16 SPOT X satellite messengers to the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC). These devices will allow ATC staff to remain in contact with support teams and report their positions on sections of the Trail lacking reliable mobile phone coverage.

In addition to GPS tracking capabilities pinpointing the location of the user, each SPOT X device has a dedicated mobile number and allows users to send messages directly to cell phone numbers and other SMS devices. As with previous models, the SPOT X also allows users to request emergency assistance with the press of a button.

“Globalstar’s generous donation will help ensure that Appalachian Trail Conservancy staff can be in contact with its maintaining crews while they work on some of the most secluded parts of the Trail,” said Laura Belleville, ATC vice president of conservation and Trail programs. “These SPOT devices will help our team communicate effectively and work safely in the Appalachian Trail’s wild spaces.”

“We at Globalstar are thrilled to be a part of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s Trail-protection efforts, helping its crew members better communicate and remain safe as they protect this beautiful national treasure,” said Globalstar CEO Dave Kagan. “Our passion is for hikers worldwide to protect and safely enjoy the great outdoors, and we are proud to give a new generation of adventurers that extra bit of security when they step into the backcountry.”

Globalstar has previously provided SPOT location devices for A.T. ridgerunners, ATC staff who monitor Trail conditions and assist hikers in protecting the fragile environment surrounding the Trail. To learn more about this and other trail management programs, visit appalachiantrail.org/ridgerunners.



Jeff
HikingintheSmokys.com
RockyMountainHikingTrails.com
HikinginGlacier.com
TetonHikingTrails.com
Ramble On: A History of Hiking

Monday, November 5, 2018

National Audubon Society Invites You to Join the 119th Annual Christmas Bird Count

For the 119th year, the National Audubon Society is organizing its annual Christmas Bird Count. Between December 14 and January 5, tens of thousands of bird-loving volunteers will participate in counts across the Western Hemisphere. The data collected by participants continues to contribute to one of only two large existing pools of information notifying ornithologists and conservation biologists about what conservation action is required to protect birds and the places they need.

The Christmas Bird Count is one of the longest-running wildlife censuses in the world. Each individual count takes place in a 15-mile-wide circle and is led by a compiler responsible for organizing volunteers and submitting observations to Audubon. Within each circle, participants tally all birds seen or heard that day—not just the species but total numbers to provide a clear idea of the health of that particular population.

Last year, the 118th Christmas Bird Count included a record-setting 2585 count circles, with 1957 counts in the United States, 463 in Canada and 165 in Latin America, the Caribbean, Bermuda and the Pacific Islands. This was the eighth-straight year of record-breaking counts. In total, 76,987 observers out in the field and watching feeders tallied up 59,242,067 birds representing 2673 different species and 426 identifiable forms—about one-quarter of the world’s known avifauna. Approximately 5 percent of the North American landmass was surveyed by the Christmas Bird Count. Last year included a new species for the entire Christmas Bird Count database: a Mistle Thrush representing the first ever appearance of that species in North America.

Continuing the disturbing finding from last year was the continued decline of the Northern Bobwhite, the only native quail in the eastern United States. This species has essentially disappeared from the Northeast and faces massive declines due to loss of shrubland habitat exacerbated by increased droughts. Other species in decline include American Kestrels, our smallest falcon, and the Loggerhead Shrike, a predatory songbird that impales its prey on thorns. While the reasons for these declines is poorly understood, scientists suspect loss of habitat as well as susceptibility to pesticide use.

Beginning on Christmas Day in 1900, Dr. Frank M. Chapman, founder of Bird-Lore – which evolved into Audubon magazine -- proposed a new holiday tradition that would count birds during the holidays rather than hunt them. Conservation was in its beginning stages in that era, and many observers and scientists were becoming concerned about declining bird populations. So began the Christmas Bird Count. 119 years later, the tradition continues and still manages to bring out the best in people.

The Audubon Christmas Bird Count is a community science project organized by the National Audubon Society. There is no fee to participate and the quarterly report, American Birds, is available online. Counts are open to birders of all skill levels and Audubon’s free Bird Guide app makes it even easier to learn more. For more information and to find a count near you visit www.christmasbirdcount.org.



Jeff
HikingintheSmokys.com
RockyMountainHikingTrails.com
HikinginGlacier.com
TetonHikingTrails.com
Ramble On: A History of Hiking

Friday, November 2, 2018

Smokies Hosts Walking Opportunity on the New Section of the Foothills Parkway

Great Smoky Mountains National Park invites the public to walk approximately two miles along the new section of the Foothills Parkway between Walland and Wears Valley on Thursday, November 8 for a Community Day celebration. This is a special opportunity for pedestrians to experience the series of bridges that connect the 1.65-mile section known as the ‘Missing Link’ before it opens to motorists and cyclists on Saturday, November 10.

Participants will be shuttled to the site from Townsend, TN between 8:00 a.m. and 12:00 noon, weather permitting. Construction activities may still be occurring along sections of the roadway, necessitating coordinated transportation to the event space. To reach the core area, participants should be prepared to walk at least two miles, round trip, along a 10% grade. At the center of the event space, the park is hosting a variety of interactive educational and artistic activities for the public to enjoy.

“While the parkway is designed as a scenic driving experience, we wanted to provide one special opportunity for people to experience it by foot before it opens to motorists,” said Superintendent Cassius Cash. “We hope the public will join us for this Community Day celebration as we enjoy the beauty of the parkway and the new recreational opportunities it provides for our local residents and visitors.”

Participants will be shuttled from the River Rat parking lot in Townsend, TN (8435 State Highway 73, Townsend, TN 37882) at approximately 8:00 a.m., 10:00 a.m., or 12:00 noon. The shuttle ride will take approximately one hour to reach the event space. Participants will have the opportunity to spend one to three hours on site depending on which departure time they choose. The Friends of the Smokies are sponsoring the free shuttle service to the public utilizing charter buses. Participation is available on a first come, first serve basis with anticipated service for approximately 1,000 people.

Participants should bring snacks and water in a small pack, wear sturdy footwear, and dress in layers to be prepared for the outdoor event. No large bags, chairs or coolers are allowed. Portable toilets will be provided on site. While on site, participants will be reminded of safety hazards while walking along the roadway, which is designed for motor vehicle traffic. The park will implement safety measures to help ensure that participants remain a safe distance from the guard rails along the bridges.

The event is weather dependent. The park will notify the public by 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, November 7 if the event is canceled due to inclement weather through the park website, social media, and a media release.



Jeff
HikingintheSmokys.com
RockyMountainHikingTrails.com
HikinginGlacier.com
TetonHikingTrails.com
Ramble On: A History of Hiking