What an incredibly uplifting feeling it is to hear a sincere "Thank you" from trail users after they hiked the sections we have worked so hard to clear.
After clearing the Rhodo jungle on the section of Laurel Fork up to Christian's Run then working on the corridor on the steep Christian's Run trail, I asked, rather yelled, that hikers take advantage of the newly opened trails. Through the thickets and hollers of rural Western Virginia, a group of animal enthusiasts must have heard the call. Just a couple of days later we met a group of backpackers who did indeed hike the trail and were happy to report seeing more than 60 newts on the forest floor during their hike of Christian's Run, Laurel Fork, and Buck Run trails. I found this somewhat of an unusual undertaking, but smiled as they thanked our team for the trail work. Then I pondered exactly what they did. Just two weeks ago these hikers would have had to literally crawl through sections of those trails, traversing through brush so thick only the dimmest of daylight would reach them. Now, not only were they able to enjoy the newly opened trails, but were able to hike it with such ease that they had the freedom to count tricky-to-spot wildlife. This thought put a little extra meaning to all of the rainy mornings, sweaty days and dehydrated dinners we suffered through over th past two months. Knowing that users are having a better recreational experience because of the work we did is why this has been a great summer.
Since the last post, here are a few of our accomplishments:
Completed 2,695 feet of trail restoration on Christian's Run Trail.
Volunteered with the nearby Greenbrier Ranger District office to help with gardening work for their office in Bartow, WV.
(Thank you Melissa Rexrod and Ranger William Dunk for the hospitality, lunch and gift)
Survived the tremendous downpours and thunderstorms they blanketed our area.
Todd Frye did a brilliant interview with the local radio station, Allegheny Mountain Radio, which aired throughout the region. The audio file and written transcript are available here http://www.publicbroadcasting.net/wvmr/news.newsmain?action=article&ARTI...  .