What is TrACS, you say?
TrACS stands for Trails Assessment & Condition Surveys, and we're doing exactly that! This summer, the TrACS Team is hiking and collecting data on sections of the 1,200 mile hiking trail system throughout the White Mountain National Forest, NH.
The White Mountain NF is comprised of three districts: the Saco, Androscoggin, and Pemigewasset District, which span over 800,000 acres in New Hampshire and Western Maine. The Forest is home to many unique and distinct features, including 6 Congressionally designated Wildernesses totalling almost 149,500 acres, 8 square miles of Alpine Environment, and Mount Washington, the highest peak in the NorthEast at 6288' with the reputation of the world's most erractic weather and highest recorded wind speed of 231 mph. Here's a link to the WMNF website:
The SCA TrACS Team is a 12 week internship to learn and apply the TrACS system in the White Mountain National Forest. The team is small in numbers but big on enthusiasm; team leader is Alice Webber, and her two eccentric interns are Eben Spalding and David Stahl. Together, these three will be hiking and backpacking the Androscoggin and Pemigewassett Districts, surveying the current conditions of specific trails and prescribing possible solutions to create "Pie in the Sky" hiking environments.
Hope to see you all on the trails soon!
By: Clare Price
As the end of June approaches, it is difficult to believe that we, the members of the CWPP Conservation Corp in North Carolina, are already over one sixth of the way through with our assignment. Upon arriving in North Carolina, we set up housing and our home office and then set off to South Dakota for SCA training. Not only was training great for learning more about SCA policies and projects, but we were also able to visit Mount Rushmore and experience snow in May, which was met with both delight and confusion. Upon our return from South Dakota, we have been going non-stop, from site training to conducting fire department interviews to exploring Iredell County during our assessments. Additionally, we have all been able to explore our base of Statesville, NC and the surrounding areas, as well as plan our group and individual service projects.
After arriving back in North Carolina, we received additional on-site training by the North Carolina Forest Service, our agency partner for the CWPP project. After arriving from South Dakota early that morning, and consuming endless amounts of caffeine, training helped everyone have a better grasp on our project. By the end of the week, we were ready to begin our Community Wildfire Protection Plans in Iredell County. We spent a little more than a week assessing wildfire risk in Iredell County. The assessments began with interviewing local fire department representatives about basic fire station information as well as questions specific to wildfire protection, preparedness, and prevention. After interviews were conducted, areas of wildfire concern were assessed. When we were not out assessing these areas of concern with our agency representative, we worked on inputting data and getting accustomed to the database interface.
With Iredell County done, we embarked onto our next county: Mecklenburg. The assessments are the same process as with Iredell County, but Mecklenburg faced its own challenges, such as navigating through the suburbs of Charlotte. We learned that through the incredible power of CWPP teamwork, nothing was out of reach. With our trusty maps and GPS, we have continued to make it back to our base in Statesville without getting too lost. With Mecklenburg County almost complete, we will continue assessing North Carolina. Stay tuned for all the juicy details on Union County, NC.
The SCA side of this program is based out of beautiful Boise, ID. Here in the SCA Boise office you'll find the home for all planning and operational support. With our access to internet, telephones and voicemails, the full range of office amenities, and a coffee maker we are able to maintain the extensive communications necessary to efficiently run our field visits and also process the considerable amount of spatial data that is collected in the field. This is where the all the pieces are put together both before a hitch and after.
As for housing, the SCA members are living in an apartment building immediately behind the SCA office. There is a male apartment and a female apartment. Between swimming in the pool, playing racquetball, and lounging in the rec. room’s mini theater there are plenty of ways to spend time off. With easy access to the Boise Greenbelt, we are able to get just about anywhere in town within a 20 minute bike ride
The goal of the SCA/USFWS Trails Inventory program is to provide the Fish and Wildlife Service with a comprehensive and accurate inventory of all trails on USFWS sites across the country. This is certainly an ambitious project as there are over 600 USFWS sites nationwide. This project will take us to every corner of the country, to high mountains and low deserts through bayous and fjords.
The 2012 effort picks up where the 2011 Trails Inventory left off, this time with the purpose of recording not only new trails added since the first survey in 2006, but all remaining trails in the system. We have 6 interns serving for 4 months to complete this effort, supervised by a roving coordinator (returning veteran Michael Molloy) and a manager (Alex Olsen, who supervised the 2011 effort) based in Boise. You can read all about who the interns are in the member bios section!
Attached to this page you can find a list of all the refuges we plan to visit this year. We are literally traveling to every corner of the country: from the tip of Maine to Southern California, from Washington state to the Florida Keys, and throw in Puerto Rico and Alaska to boot!
We are all extremely excited for this opportunity as it provides the chance to perform an important service to the USFWS, expand our own knowledge and expertise, and experience many different parts of the country for the first time.
Uriah Stone, a hunter in the 1700's, navigated up a small river that was later named in his honer. He was taken aback at the beauty of the open grasslands and forrested areas that teemed with wildlife. These hunting grounds were utilized by Chickasaw, Creeks, Shawnees, and Cherokees. Stewart's Ferry Reservoir was created under the Flood Control Act of 1946 and was later renamed J. Percy Priest after the late congressman from Tennessee. Construction on the 33,0540-acre project began in 1963 and was completed by 1968.
J. Percy Priest Dam impounds a lake 42 miles long and can be seen from I 40. 10,000 acres of lands are devoted for wildlife managment and is surrounded by 18,854 acres of public lands. It is located 10 miles from Nashville providing a variety of outdoor recreational activities such as camping, fishing, hiking, swimming, canoeing, boating and others.