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2015/09/21

Log 2015092101

Today, I drove to Leith Run Recreation Area to take some measurements on a display board that Buckeye now has permission to use.  Unfortunately, I was unable to measure the brochure holder as it has a bee hive above it.

Afterwards, I hiked a portion of the Kinderhook Horse Trail to determine if it could link to Dana's Run Road/ C25.  What I found is that there was fence just before C25 and 2 property markers.  And the route of the former road was completely grown over with 10' trees.

So, I turned around and went back to my car and tried to find and place a waypoint on the old Biehl's Store on OH-26, but apparently I went the wrong way and didn't find it.  I came about on OH-7 in New Matamoras and drove home.

2015/09/20

Log 2015092001

I occassionally monitor the Whipple Section - Buckeye/ North Country Trail's relevance on a Google search using the word "whipple" and the phrase "whipple section." Simply "whipple" can also refer to the name of a medical proceedure, which tends to get more interest. But today, one of my logs concerning the previous Whipple Work Week jumped up to the #2 hit.  In terms of promoting the trail, that is very good news.

Google's search relevancy is based on how much traffic a site gets. And I believe it's also based on what the end users want in a particular search.

2015/09/18

Log 2015091801

With the Whipple Work Weekend having past, they worked on the following:
- Sawyer crews cut obstructions from about 50 downed trees in the sections 13.52 miles of off-road in the Marietta Unit of the Wayne National Forest.  We cleared about 80 and made the surface "obstruction free" last four months ago.

- Pts. 01 - 06 & 18 - 24 were re-blazed

- The off-road was pruned one again.

- Weed whacking, to include the western half of Pts. 01 - 02 and the Little Muskingum River Flats between Pts. 05 - 06 were done and took about 40 man hours.  One of three weed eaters broke down in the first day on the flats.

- Benching was done in several locations, including the east descent to the river flats between Pts. 05 - 06.

The crew did a great job.  I even got to dine with some of them at the New Frontier Restaurant in New Matamoras of Washington County.  All items that were GPS cataloged in my previous inspection were moved to my "Legacy" folder in Google Earth.  One more inspection next spring ought to do it and I should be able to determine if our maintenance has a pattern of being heavier in some places than others.  I can do that by activating everything in that folder and analyzing where the higher concentrations are.

On another note, I regret to say that the BTA has Sawyer Course in the Athens Unit near Nelsonville of Athens County and I will not be able to attend as I will not be able to get a replacement chain for my chainsaw in time.

I may have mentioned before that I'm shifting the section's priorities from maintenance to promotion.  Right now, I'm compiling a list of displays and cork boards where the BTA and myself will need to develop custom fliers and other prints for.  Otherwise, I know that we also could have access to local television and radio media.

Today, I attempted to take a ride on the North Bend Rail Trail near the West Virginia University at Parkersburg with my 1982 Motobecane road bike. The American Discovery Trail in West Virginia is routed on this.  The problem is that the rail trail's surface was mostly grass with two tire tracks of old and sunken in gravel.  My road bike does not do gravel well at all and I haven't mounted my knobby 700c tires on my mountain bike yet.  Anyways, it's getting a new handlebar and needs brake work and new cables.  So, unfortunately, I don't think that I'll be getting to this trail anytime soon.

2015/09/17

Log 2015091702

The newly discovered availability of transit from the Community Action Bus Lines along the Whipple Section - Buckeye Trail/ North Country Trail Connector (BT/ NCTC on-road) unveils the possibility of using transit for  two loops between Pts. 18 - 13 (counter clockwise, CCW) & 09 - 13.  They're 11.6 and 11.8 total miles respectively.  First one has a 5hr 31min window of execution.  At at an adverage hiking speed of 2.7MPH, it will take 4.3 hours to complete.  And the latter will take 4.4 hours, but it's window is wider considering that the bus on the south end terminates 2.7mi from Pt. 09 and is more of a regular route in the City of Marietta.

Given the Whipple Section's lack of public all-weather parking areas in the winter, street parking and lots in Marietta could serve this purpose when tied in with public transit on Thursdays.  By "all weather," I mean a lot that a non-4WD vehicle (like a mini cooper) can park in that is public, plowed and attached to a road that is also plowed.  Or, it's an area where the prospective hiker can park that is just far enough for the vehicle to be without the street plow's throw.  In this case, the prospective hiker would pack a snow shovel and dig themselves out, but it would be short.

Log 2015091701

I finally took a ride on the New Matamoras/ Macksburg route on the Community Action Bus Lines (CABL) in Washington County.  I rode out and back because I wasn't getting the information that I needed from their office to write a full GPS track for the Ohio Transit Hiker's Resource (OTHR).  It's been somewhat incomplete for the past few years.  But what I found out today was that we have many more opportunities to board this route from the Whipple Section - Buckeye Trail/ North Country Temporary Connector (BT/ NCTC, on-road).

Out of Marietta in the Macksburg direction, this flyer fixed route travels north along OH-60 to OH-821, then uses I-77 northbound and exits at the OH-821/ Macksburg Exit.  It travels CCW on Main and Broad Streets before heading south on OH-821.  At OH-821 and I-77, the route officially continues along OH-821 to OH-60 and back to the Washington County Courthouse.  But it may deviate in the southbound direction and take I-77 to OH-7 (Walmart & K-Mart) instead.

2015/09/10

Log 2015091001

Last night, I filled up my gas tank in preparation for the Whipple Work Weekend.  The Buckeye Trail Association's "Trail Management Team" is coming on the 12th, so I have to bake some peanut butter brownies tomorrow.  It's been a good day today.  I now know who has the section's easement information.  Federal property in the Wayne National Forest is fragmented and discontinuous.  In order for the Whipple Section to traverse the unit, it's routed on several private properties for a short distance where the BTA has the legal right to pass.

We now have a new point of contact at the Ranger Station in Reno of Washington County.  My duties as a section supervisor state that should "maintain good relations" with land owners (in this case, the U. S. National Forest Service)  This is a local biologist for the unit and usually the first person that I talk to in regards to Whipple Section's off-road trail there.  After that, we have a Recreational Specialist and she's at the Forest Headquarters in Nelsonville of Athens County.

I just got the section cleared to build a cairn in a grassy area near an oil pump.  This where we have a fork between the trail and its maintenance drive.  Both are grass surfaces and it's wide open. A cairn is a bunch of shale rocks stacked in to a pyramid that's used in places like the Appalachian Trail, particularly in higher altitudes.  In Whipple's case, it will give us a chance to mark the trail in a place where the opportunities to blaze (paint a navigational marker) aren't that good.

- We may have 4WD access to the gated German Cemetery Road/ T623 this weekend.

- NFS North Country Trail signage was also talked about at the ranger station.

- Buckeye now has access to the center display in front of the parking lot at the Leith Run Recreation Area.  Officially, it's 4.5 miles from the Whipple & Road Fork Section's - Buckeye/ North Country National Scenic Trail at the C9 Trailhead in Independence Township.  However, using an unmaintained road, BT/ NCNST hikers can get there in only 2.93 miles.


I've been collecting geotagged photos of community announcement coark boards and displays.  The goal is the get them all cataloged so that I can devise a route that they'll be deployed and replenished.  Yesterday, I accounted for all of the colleges and universities.  So today, having been at the ranger station, I found out that they now have NFS's new hiking map for The Wayne.

In regards to campgrounds and lodging, it's been difficult to promote there because the audience is so transient and the BTA's turn around for on-line orders is about 7 days. The nearest in-person map & guide retailer is about 50 miles from Marietta at forest headquarters.  At that point, you might as well point Marietta's tourism traffic to a hike on the New Straitsville Section.  But with the NFS hiking maps being at the ranger station now, which displays most of the BT/ NCNST in the forest... it's about 6 miles from Marietta, and that means "we're in business."  Camping/ lodging promotion now has something to connect our "Hike Ohio" cards and brochures to (quickly) and hold it over until the GPS tracks or the trail's data book is available for purchase and download.

Whipple Section, or most of the Buckeye Trail doesn't maintain a high traffic volume.  We know from places like the Appalachian Trail, where there is a high traffic volume, that the more that hikers traverse the off-road, the more the vegetation won't grow as much over, or in the surface.  The question becomes how many people would it take to stave it off?  Would it take 10 hikers per day? 3? or could it take so much as 1?  We could use the trail between Whipple 01 & 02 (10/2010 map) as an experiment.  It might be more sensible to start with at least 3 passes per day?


2015/09/09

2015090901

I've been told that the off-road trail on the Road Fork and Whipple Sections of the Buckeye/ North Country National Scenic Trail was built by the Youth Conservation Corps in the early 1980's.  I'm not sure if they do this every year, but in the summers, the National Forest Service opens a number of summer jobs to youth in the Mid-Ohio Valley.  I've personally seen them work as they were cleaning culverts, ditches and taking out trash at the Ring Mill Campground in the Wayne National Forest - Marietta Unit.  They're a tribute to where they come from as they were intense, hard working individuals.  I was quite impressed with them actually.