After a few months of hibernation in the office through the coldest months of the year, SAWS is back on the ground and off to a great start!
The first Wild Crew of the season went out on the Benton MacKaye Trail in the Little Frog Wilderness in southeast Tennessee. Spring is "logging out" season for trail maintainers, a time to clear fallen trees which have come down during the winter months. The crew was able to clear 10 trees from the trail, as well as brush over 4 miles of corridor. SAWS Director Bill Hodge led a crew of five volunteers in contributing 72 hours of volunteer power to the Cherokee National Forest.
SAWS hit the ground the next day on the Joyce Kilmer Loop Trail in the Joyce Kilmer-Slickrock Wilderness, located Graham County, North Carolina. Two staff led a crew of five volunteers in 57 hours of trail maintenance. The group cleared 11 trees from the popular 2 mile loop trail, which features stunning virgin old growth trees that draw thousands of visitors from across the region to experience this exquisite example of southern Appalachian ecology.
Last weekend, SAWS headed to the Citico Creek Wilderness in Monroe County, Tennessee, to work on a reroute of the Mill Branch Trail. The trail is currently only accessible to hikers, but the Tellico District of the Cherokee National Forest approved a reroute of the Mill Branch Trail to bring the trail out of the riparian zone so it can become equestrian accessible as well. Led by two staff, a group of 8 volunteers put in 100 hours clearing the corridor for the reroute. The crew cleared 315 feet of trees and brush to make way for the new section of trail. SAWS will hold another Wild Crew outing on February 15 to continue clearing the corridor. More information and outing registration can be found on the SAWS volunteer calendar. See you on the trail!