Search This Blog


Surface Streams Mining Contamination

Over the last week or so, I've been working with these overlays trying to determine stream contamination from mining on The Wilderness Loop - Buckeye Trail (North Country Trail partially concurrent).  This image is an overlay of the National Hydrography Dataset from the US Geological Survey (USGS) with mining data from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources with the route of the Whipple Section - Buckeye Trail/ North Country Temporary Connector.  I've also been using a USGS topo overlay to predict the likely path that hard metals (such as mercury) would take to get into the watershed.  Those things can't be filtered by typical hiker water purification units.  When opened in Google Earth, they just become layers.

This idea isn't mine.  Credit for this one goes out to the Buckeye Trail Association's maintenance supervisor.  And it wasn't until recently that I had the capability to put it all together.  This data is for The Wilderness Loop only and been on the "to do list" for a while.

Is every stream contaminated?  Well, I'm not a scientist, so I don't want to make such statements. I noted the location of every stream.  Many of them are probably perennial.  I marked the ones with mines along, or on one of their branches in red.  Even in on a hand GPS, some won't read the icons, so their names read that "Do Not Filter Here."

In a nutshell, there are certain places the hiker shouldn't filter water from.  They are:

AEP Recreation Land
Little Muskingum River
(including the Clear Fork Little Muskingum River)
The West, Middle and East Branches of the Duck Creek
Road Fork Section, Pts. 04 - 07 (present day map & guide)

According to my data, Whipple 13 - 24 (10/2010 map & guide) can be a hit or miss... mostly miss.  In any event, if the hiker assumes the risks involved. And they'll need data like mine to plan where they're going to filter water.  Concerns about mining and it's effect on surface streams have been going on since before the trail in this area was born.


Parking and Dispersed Camping

I took a look at public parking data that I mapped a couple weeks ago.  And even without the right of way data, I have enough confirmed parking places along the American Discovery Trail in Ritchie and Wood Counties in West Virginia to support shorter distance hikers.

I found a waypoint questioning a parking area with tire ruts in it on the on-road portion of the Road Fork Section - Buckeye Trail/ North Country Temporary Connector (BT/ NCTC).  I knew by it's position that it was also the coordinates of the camp shelter.  For the longest time, my data only read it's approximate position.  At one point in time, I thought that I took a waypoint for it???

This shelter is notoriously difficult to find because they don't want it advertised to anybody but hikers.  It has a sign that can only be found in the counterclockwise direction.  Because of the way that Buckeye Trail guides are written, the most hikers are probably traveling clockwise.  There's a notch cut out of the south side of the road with a grassy strip.  The sign is mounted high within the notch in one direction only.

I found a dispersed campsite along this on-road just south of present day Road Fork Section - BT/ NCTC, Point 14.  It's where it's routed through a minor federal property parcel in the Marietta Unit of the Wayne National Forest (The Wayne).  The Marietta Unit's federally owned property is fragmented to such end that the Buckeye/ North Country Trail is the only thing of length that can be routed through.  So, there's stray parcels on it's outer edges.

It has two oil containers.  I'm not sure if they're active.  They probably are.  But it has a grassy field.  If dispersed camping isn't allowed there, it probably is very near by.  As a result, the Road Fork Section is 68% compatible with the BTA's 10 mile campsite initiative.

North Country Trail has two parts, the public (National Park Service) and the private side North Country Trail Association.  "Rated" is a term that is used when NPS accepts a portion of trail.  Portions waiting to be rated or most of North Country's roads are North Country Temporary Connectors (NCTC).  Both sides of North Country are required to follow a corridor as per federal law. But, I think that the NCTC is domain of the volunteer side?  As I understand, that corridor is 12 miles wide, or 6 miles from the center of the trail on both sides.  If they want to exceed it, it will take an act of Congress.  But being the Whipple Section Supervisor and having a North Country concurrency, from my end, that's probably plenty of "wiggle room."

In addition to that, I have the locations of additional parking areas along the Road Fork Section off-road between the Ring Mill and the North Country/ Buckeye Trailhead on OH-260.



Questions were sent to the North Bend State Park in West Virginia inquiring about the width of it's right-of-way and how often American Discovery Trail tack on emblems can be posted?


American Discovery Intersections and Whipple Resupply

There are 76 intersections on the American Discovery Trail - Ohio/ Kentucky's 32 mile on-road route between the West Virginia line and the Buckeye Trail.  This area is in Washington and Morgan Counties.  I used placemarks in Google Earth and then talled up the total.  I'll have to do West Virginia in Wood and Ritchie Counties next.  When a place mark is made, it's properties sub-window comes up.  I wish it didn't.  I wish I could just put them down and go on because I use a reprogrammable keypad.  And when putting a placemark down, the sub-menu is subdued.  That causes me to have to use the mouse to activate and close it.  It would be so much faster if I had the option to just put them down and I'll just rename them later if I want to.

I'm getting ready to request supplies from the American Discovery Trail Society soon.

Yesterday, I purchased 4 canvas stuff sacks with draw strings.  There should be more than enough to hoist resupply sack caches along the Whipple Section at roughly 10 mile predicted intervals.  The needs of the hiker and Buckeye's fixed amenities before and after should influence this.  They'd be asked to use this as their dispersed campsite.  If there are multiple sites for one particular predicted area that used in some rotation, with Whipple's lower numbers, that should keep the impact on the land lower while filling a need with resupply.

The sites will be marked off trail with global coordinates and one will have to use a GPS to find them.  With that said, GPS's have an accuracy that fluctuates on both devices (mine and theirs).  It can be more inaccurate if the sky is more cloudy, or overcast.  When the waypoint is made, I'll also have to record my hand GPS's accuracy so that the hiker knows that the actual location might not be where their device says the waypoint is.  At most, they'll have to walk a straight line about 50ft from the reported waypoint position.  Then use their GPS to walk a circle from it at that radius.  They'll need to scan with their eyes inside the circle and they should be able to find it.


Things Are Different

Years ago before I was the Section Supervisor for the Whipple Section - Buckeye/ North Country Trail on The Wilderness Loop, I was a hiker.  And as I was heading clockwise/ westbound approaching the Little Muskingum River Flats, I crossed three streams where I had to descend 3, 4 and 7 feet.  On the 7 footer, I had to slide down on something gravel like.

Where I'm from, it's a bit dangerous, but you can do a controlled slide down the 80ft river embankment using the outside bottoms of your feet against the dirt.  But this 7 footer took me for a wild ride and there was no going back.  I found the trail.  I was unblazed and I followed it for about 100 yards along a hill before it disappeared.  It wasn't a pine forest and that which should have been the trail was indistinguishable from the forest floor.

I was running out of water, so I slid down the rest of the embankment and found my way to the Little Muskingum River.  I was plotting an emergency azimuth to the nearby Armstrong Road.  The river was chest high and swift.  I was carrying my 60 liter ruck over my head and I made it to the road.  That was the day when I had to bypass the Little Muskingum River Flats on the basis that the trail was threat to me.

That was more than 4 years ago.  Q: Is Whipple different now???  A: The whole Buckeye Trail is different now.  In that span of time, it's Facebook group membership has grown by about 420%.  The associations membership base has probably increased by 280%.  It's gone from 1 to 4 chapters in that time.  Maturity wise, the trail and association has evolved at least twice then.  And these days, if you ask it's Facebook group if there are any spots that are notorious for bad maintenance, it will take them a bit to answer that.  They can't just quickly come up with an answer like they use to.  I got an answer back the last time I asked.  It was on one area, but there wasn't any consensus on it.  Again, things are different.


Parks General Store

Grocer just off the middle of the Road Fork Section - Buckeye Trail/ North Country Temporary Connector:

Parks General Store
36800 OH-260
Sycamore Valley, Ohio 43754
(740) 934-2224
Hous: M - Sa 8a - 5p

In the unincoporated community of Marr in Monroe County, which is west of the Lamping Homestead Recreation Area of the Marietta Unit - Wayne National Forest.. The building has been there since 1977, Parks General Store since 1938. There is enough goods and variety for hikers to resupply here.


Mock Hiker - Little Loop - Buckeye Trail

Mock Hiker
Little Loop - Buckeye Trail
Set to the average Thru Hike Rate at generally 20 miles per day in this area
Burton, Mogadore, Massillon & Bedford Sections are written in the clockwise direction.  Akron is in counter clockwise

Compiled on 04/09/2017
Buckeye Trail Map & Guide Editions Used:

                        Akron Section - January 2012
                        Bedford Section - February 2012
                        Burton Section - November 2011
                        Massillon Section - February 2011
                        Medina Section - January 2017
                        Mogadore Section - July 2011

Disclaimer: My mock hikers are "cookie cutter" and have strict rules.  They rely on stated amenities and are meant to judge the performance of the trail and it's logistical abilities.  


Day One
Burton Section. Pt. 01 (Northern Terminus) to 11
C - Big Creek Park - GPD
17 miles

Day Two
Points 11 - 21
Ld - Red Maple Inn
18.4 miles

Day Three
Points 21 - 26
C - Camp Asbury
15.5 miles

Day Four
Points 26 - Mogadore Section, Point 05
C - Shaw Woods Park - PPD
13.5 miles

Day Five
Points 05 - 08
C - West Branch SP
6.8mi on the BT
2.4mi on C spur

Day Six
Points 08 - 17
C - Countryside Campground
2.4mi on C spur
18.5 miles on the BT
0.1 miles from BT to C
21 miles total

Day Seven~Zero Day~

Day Eight
Point 17 -  28
Ld - Quail's Covey Bed & Breakfast
0.1 from C to BT
17.5 miles on the BT
1.0 mile from BT to Ld
18.6 miles total

Day Nine
Point 28 to Massillon Section, Point 07
1.0 mi from Ld to BT
13.5 miles on the BT
14.5 miles total

Day Ten
Point 13 to Akron Section, Point 26
C - 3 Tent Sites
17.7 miles on the BT

Day Eleven
Points 26 - 15
C - Big Bend - SMP
18.6 miles

Day Twelve
Points 15 - 05
Ld - Stanford House
18.0 miles on the BT
0.8 miles from BT to Ld
18.8 miles total

Day Thirteen
Points 05 - Bedford Section, Point 01
Ld - Motel 6 Richfield
0.8 miles from Ld to BT
12 miles on the Akron Section
1.1 miles on Medina Section
1.8 miles from Medina Section to Ld
15.8 miles total

Day Fourteen
Points 01 - 09
Ld - Holiday Inn Express Oakwood Village
1.8 miles from Ld to the Medina Section
1.1 miles on the Medina Section
13.1 miles on the Bedford Section
1.5 miles from BT to Ld
17.5 miles total

Day Fifteen
Point 09 - 15
Ld - Inn of Chagrin Falls
1.5 miles from Ld to BT
13.4 miles on the BT
1.1 miles from BT to Ld
16 miles total

Day Sixteen
Point 15 - 22
C - Chapin Forest LMP
1.1 from Ld to BT
17.8 miles on the BT
18.9 miles total

Day Seventeen
Points 22 - 28
11.4 miles on the BT
1.3 miles from BT to Ld
12.7 miles total

Day Eighteen
Point 28 - Burton Section, Point 01
Northern Terminus


Parking Search - 04/08/2017

The 88 mile trip for the parking search along Road Fork Section on The Wilderness Loop is only 4 hours long.  I've got all day Monday, so I expanded the search to 223.3 miles to include other areas that I'm promoting.  If I have all day and use some of the night hours, too, I might be able to pull this off.

My trail promotion area ultimately is between existing Buckeye Trail Association chapters, covering from the intersection of the Belle Valley and Road Fork Sections along the main loop to the east boundary of the Village of Chesterhill in Morgan County, the rest of The Wilderness Loop, 41 miles of the American Discovery Trail (ADT) - West Virginia and 32 miles of it's Ohio/ Kentucky that's independent of the Buckeye Trail (BT) concurrency in Southeast Ohio.

On ADT, I'm looking for 4 volunteers, 2 for each state to help them staff their state committees and then just local trail exposure.

The goals on the BT side are trail adopters and then general promotion.

Finally, assembling a chapter, or 3rd party association.


Car Maintenance and Check Engine Codes

I changed the oil , oil, air and cabin air filters today in accordance with standard maintenance procedures on my 2008 Chevy HHR LS.  But I haven't rotated the tires yet.  The odometer reads 180,862

The check engine light is on and the computer is showing codes P0449 as current and P0420 as pending.  I just looked up the first one and I think I'll have a professional garage fix these along with potentially replacing the right rear brake line.


Stem on the Loveland Section

The stem on the Loveland Section and the Southern Terminus are remnants of a time when the Buckeye Trail wasn't a circle.  The trail was originally routed from the Headlands Beach State Park on Lake Erie to Eden Park in Cincinnati and by way of Southeast Ohio.  But I wonder how the BT maps in the 1960's routed it because the Williamsburg Section is generally 55 miles or so today.  My guess is that there wasn't a Loveland Section and that Williamsburg was extended to Eden Park?

Units of the Buckeye Trail

A "section" is a defined unit on the Buckeye Trail.  It's broken up into 26 of them.  They range from about 45 to 65 miles in length.  In the beginning, the sections were divided at approximately 55 miles each.  Over time, moving the trail off-road either increased, or decreased that mileage.  Presently, I know that the Buckeye Trail Association (BTA) no longer has any official limits on total section lengths.

A subdivision of a section is "segment."  They refer to trail adopter assignments.  These are not very well known outside of BTA Headquarters, section supervisors and trail (maintenance) adopters.  But they are on official record.  And their sizes can vary much more.  Ideally, a maintainer probably shouldn't have much more than 3 miles off-road, 10 miles canal and rail trail and 20 miles on-road.  But if I section can get more volunteers, those numbers can be smaller.  But on occasion, it could have a volunteer with more time to commit to the BTA than usual, or there could be a gap to fill, so maintenance could be larger?

I'd recommend that the best way to express the trail to others when one doesn't know the section or segment is to just refer to it as a "portion" or "trail portion."  That unit is vague and not already in use officially.


I believe that I've triangulated the location of Helltown, or the former Boston, Ohio in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.