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Stewardship:  Trail Maintenance and Border Monitoring

The Appalachian Trail is a 2,180+ mile long public footpath that traverses the scenic, wooded, pastoral, wild, and culturally resonant lands of the Appalachian Mountains. Conceived in 1921, built by private citizens, and completed in 1937, today the trail is managed by the National Park Service, US Forest Service, Appalachian Trail Conservancy, numerous state agencies and thousands of volunteers.

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy, established in 1925, is a national not-for-profit corporation that is both a confederation of the 31 local organizations with assignments to maintain the Appalachian Trail and a membership organization with support from all 50 states and more than 15 other countries.  The ATC’s Mission Statement is to protect, manage, and advocate for the Appalachian National Scenic Trail with a vison to forever protect the Appalachian Trail and its surrounding landscape for all to enjoy.  Under agreements that date back to the 1930s, buttressed by federal legislation in 1968 and 1978, ATC leads a cooperative-management system for the Trail.  This three-legged stool includes (1) the maintaining groups, (2) the ATC, and (3) our federal partners.  The ODATC section includes partnerships with both the US Forest Service (George Washington National Forest) and the National Park Service (Blue Ridge Parkway and Appalachian National Scenic Trail units).

In 1984 a Delegation Agreement between the NPS and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) delegated trail management and corridor protection to the ATC. The ATC uses trail clubs like the ODATC to perform the on-the-ground work needed to realize these maintenance and protection goals.  These agreements are codified in Volunteer Service Agreements that are updated from time to time.

ODATC has stewardship responsibilities for:                                  

  • Trail maintenance on 19.1 miles of the AT, from Reid's Gap

     to Rockfish Gap (just south of Waynesboro, where

     I-64 crosses the Blue Ridge Parkway), as well as for the

     Jack Albright Trail.

  • Maintaining the Paul C. Wolfe Memorial Shelter

     and privy built by ODATC members in 1991.

  • Border monitoring the NPS corridor through which our

     section of the AT runs.  This includes annual

     assessments of the boundary monuments.  See the

     Border Monitoring page for more information on this activity.


            Here is a link to an aerial view of the section we maintain.  

        Paul C Wolfe Shelter

        (It took approximately 30 people every weekend for two months to complete the shelter.

        Materials had to be hauled two miles by hand and tractor.)

        Trail maintenance activities include many sorts of activities.   They range from very arduous work to literally a walk in the woods.  Examples of trail maintenance activities that might be performed on an average work trip, are: cleaning drainage features, building/repairing steps, maintaining treadway (width and slope), removing fallen trees, trimming back vegetation, refreshing blazes, removing illegal campsites, cleaning and maintenance of the shelter and privy, replacing signage, removing graffiti, and scouting.  From time to time much larger projects that involve multiple trips are undertaken such as large stairways and drainage projects, construction (recent privy improvements), etc.  The Club also participates in maintenance trips to in support of the Richmond-area National Wildlife Refuges and the City of Richmond trail system.  

        In addition to regular monthly work trips, some members “adopt” a small portion of our section of the Trail.  As their personal time permits, they will perform routine trail maintenance and reconnaissance on their piece of paradise.

        We normally meet at Humpback Rocks Visitor Center at 9AM and work until between 4 and 5, depending on the time of year.  The Visitor’s Center is located between mileposts 5 and 6 on the Blue Ridge Parkway.  Wear substantial shoes, long pants and bring gloves.  Dress for the weather.  You might consider bug spray.  Bring lunch and plenty of water. Some folks go out to dinner afterward.

        If you have any questions about trail maintenance contact us at  odatc.trailmaint@gmail.com

        ODATC has a private Facebook group for trail maintainers and corridor monitors. Please join us at https://www.facebook.com/groups/odatcmaintainers


        Old Dominion Appalachian Trail Club (c). 
        P.O. Box 25283 
        Richmond, VA 23260-5283
        Contact us

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