A number of trail projects are listed on the Forest Service’s 2009 Schedule of Proposed Actions (SOPA). A lot of these will undoubtedly be placed on hold or canceled as they wind their way through the bureaucracy, but we might actually see some work done on some of them. There are definitely some trail maintenance needs across the National Forests so it’s nice to see these coming up.
In addition to these projects, some of the money from the Economic Stimulus plan of earlier this year has been sent our direction. One project listed as a result of this is trail bridge construction and maintenance. No specifics have been announced, but we’ll keep you posted as we learn more. But expected some changes on our area trails over the next couple of years!
Here are some specific proposals from the latest SOPA:
Pisgah National Forest
— Reroute a section of the Little East Fork trail around washouts from the storms of September 2004. This project is officially on hold.
— Relocate a portion of the Pink Beds trail (Davidson/Mills River areas) around the beaver-created pond/wetlands. This project is completed.
— Officially extend the Rainbow Falls trail up to meet the new trail from Gorges State Park. The actual trail is already in place and easy to follow; this proposal is just to make the naming and routing of it official. A decision is expected in November 2009 with implementation in March 2010.
— Reroute of the very bottom of the Sam Knob trail where it’s eroding into Flat Laurel Creek. A decision is expected in November 2009 with implementation in August of 2010.
— Reroute a portion of the Spencer Branch trail (Mills River area) “to higher ground”. A decision is expected in November 2009 with implementation in April 2010.
— Fix a damaged culvert by building a bridge on the Wolf Branch trail (Bent Creek area). This project is listed as completed on 7/13/09.
— Relocate the Cherry Creek Trail as part of the Harmon Den project. Implementation is expected in June 2010.
Nantahala National Forest
— Relocate a portion of the Appalachian trail off the ridgeline of Hogback Mountain onto the west side of the ridge. A decision is expected October 2009 with implementation in October as well.
— Cut down dead trees along the Joyce Kilmer Memorial trail using crosscut saws and “explosives”. A decision is expected in December 2009 with implementation in Jaunary 2010. This trail will definitely have to be closed while this is carried out.
— Extend the Bartram trail by 4 miles, from below Doubletop Fields down the ridge to Hickory Knoll Road. A decision on this is expected in Februrary 2010 with construction starting March 2010.
So as you can see, there are a number of trail projects in the works across the Western part of the state.