Tuesday, March 15, 2016

AT Museum Volunteer Newsletter - March 2016

March 2016
brought to you by Joe Harold, Appalachian Trail Museum Manager

The snow has melted. The flowers are ready to bloom. The breeze is warming and the Museum is stirring from its winter slumber.  As the excitement builds towards opening day at the A.T. Museum, there are many tasks to do and there are many hands standing by, ready to do them.

This season we plan to see the opening of the ground floor Children's Area and the transformation of the second floor into more exhibit space.  Great things continue to happen at the Museum and we are doing our best to keep thing fresh and interesting.  

I look forward to welcoming back all of our amazing volunteers and visitors for another season at the Museum.  Soon the old Grist Mill will echo with voices telling their stories and the waft of hiker "musk" will be prevalent in the Hiker Lounge.  

2016 Halfway Point - Just north of Dead Woman's Hollow Rd.

Clean Up Day 

Saturday, the 19th is Clean Up Day.  Bring your rakes, clippers and gloves and help as we spruce up the joint for next week's opening.  

Volunteer Picnic 

I have scheduled this year's Volunteer Picnic for April 16th.  This picnic is for all those who give their time to the A.T. Museum or are interested in getting involved.  We think of it as a nice meet and greet with all the greeters and other volunteers.  I perfect way to get to know each other.  

There will be dogs and burger and all the other nice things that a picnic entails, especially getting together in our shared passion.  You can sign up to help with the food at the handy dandy VolunteerSpot Group Page

Trail Re-Route for Prescribed Burning (An excuse for a hike)

I got wind that a work party from the PATC that was going to install a couple Kiosks and work out a re-route of the trail up near Dead Woman's Hollow Rd, where the PA Forest Service was planning on doing a couple of prescribed burns to enhance the ridge line environment for pitch pine and scrub oak habitat.  Back in ancient times, wild fires would move through the mountains clearing the hubris and helping these habitats (which need a periodic burn) to thrive.  There are even tales of pioneers burning the ridge tops to help with this as it would provide good blue berry (huckleberry) and acorn growth.  With today's excellent fire watching, natural burns don't happen very often, so man must step in and help nature a bit.  I'm not sure exactly when the burns (and temp re-route) will happen but it could be any time between now and next fall.

Map that shows re-route and burn plan
I used this information to plan a little loop hike in the general area.  I parked at the small lot at Dead Woman's Hollow Rd (where people park who are using the nearby PATC cabin called Anna Michener.)  I crossed Ridge Rd and quickly saw the markers for the new trail.  This new cutting ran a short ways until it hit an established bike trail called three mile trail.  From there it was an easy walk paralleling the road and AT for about 1.6 miles.  

Kiosk at Dead Woman's Hollow Rd.  It will contain
information of the habitat restoration and the re-route
After that short distance, there is another trail cutting that takes you back to Ridge Rd and the forest road that goes into the Private Tumbling Run Preserve.  

"double blaze" taking me back to the road on the re-route
As I headed back towards my car along the A. T., I saw a sign explaining the habitat maintenance and when I saw the sign for the cabin, I decided to finally check the place out and maybe eat my lunch there.  After a short walk, I was at the cabin.

Sign explaining the habitat work
Anna Michener Cabin.  A future rental for me, for sure.
I sat out at the table and ate a nice Wawa lunch and then decided to hike out along the Dead Woman's Hollow trail.  This trial finished the perfect loop that ended up around 4.5 miles.  On the way back I took a little detour down a small forest road to a cool meadow that has a bunch of planted fruit and nut trees.  I had noticed the open area on Google Maps and wanted to see what it was.  I found a piece of an old sign that said it was some kind of habitat project.  One thing I noted is that two of the trees are the perfect spacing for my hammock.  ;)  

Secret meadow up on the flat
Sign remnants.  Any of you locals have more information?
As I got back to my truck, I had the happy glow that a good hike gives me. I had been carrying my full pack and it had weighed in at around 30 lbs. (which is my usual weight.  No one will every call me Ultralight, but I try).

I will spread the word as the burns are announced and before long we will see a transformation of the area.  I look forward to see how things change.  

Hiker Information on our Museum Kiosk 

We have been planning for awhile to start using the back side of our Kiosk as a Hiker Information Area.  This year is when we make that happen.  I have a few signs to post there and we can add information on our local shuttle drivers and other stuff. If anyone has any ideas on what would be good "Hiker Info", let me know and we will get it posted.  


The Volunteer Sign Up Site 

As always, your one stop shop place to sign up for all things happening at the A.T. Museum is the  VolunteerSpot Group Page.  In addition to the Docent shift sign up, we have Road Scholar, Orientation, Picnic and Clean up sign ups.  It's never too early to start planning your season.  Thanks to all who give their time. 

Things Coming Down the Trail

March 18th, 2016 - First Orientation Session
March 19th, 2016 - 9 to Noonish - AT Museum Clean Up Day and Second Orientation Session. 
March 20th, 2016 - Third Orientation Session
March 25th, 2016 - Forth Orientation Session
March 26, 2016 - Last Orientation and AT Museum opens for the 2016 season
April 3rd, 2016 - Annual A.T. Museum Board Meeting
April 13th-14th, 2016 - Volunteer Backpacking Overnight
April 16th, 2016 - Volunteer Appreciation Picnic
April 16th-17th, 2016 - ATC Flip Flop Kick Off - Harpers Ferry, WV
April 25th, 2016 - Road Scholar Hike
May 9th, 2016 - Road Scholar Hike
May 13th-15th, 2016 - Trail Days - Damascus, VA
June 3rd, 2016 - Sixth Annual Appalachian Trail Hall of Fame Banquet
June 4th, 2016 - A.T. Museum Children's Festival - National Trails Day

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