The Unicoi Crest above Tellico Plains

 

Cherokee Hiking Club
198 Crews Drive, Benton, TN 373
07

 

 

 


 

Benton MacKaye Trail

Trail Maintenance
Benton MacKaye Trail - Section 14
Coker Creek to Unicoi Gap

Map of shortcut to Round Top

Monday, May 18, 2009 - BMT Section 14b-c Walkthrough as part of Cherokee Hiking Club hike led by Al Rymer. Report is attached.

Saturday, June 27, 2009: Rick Harris, Brenda Harris, Butch Horn, Liz Carter, Steve Cartwright and Bob Ruby spent a long hot muggy day logging and brushing out the Benton MacKaye Trail Section 16b from Sledrunner Gap to about half 2/3 of the way (1.53 miles) toward Round Top. Due to 4-wheeler traffic past the gap south of Rocky Top, very few logs were across the trail. Most of the work consisted of brushing out with brushcutters. We also cleared the manway from Beaverdam Bald to Sledrunner Gap, the 0.5 mile long access trail to the work site. The blackberry bushes were so thick, there was no way to get to our worksite without doing this as well. The road to Beaverdam Bald is currently being reworked by the FS. About half of it was mostly finished, but the other half was very rough and hard to negotiate due to deep ruts and massive overhanging branches. We decided that the second day of work scheduled for June 28 should be rescheduled to a time in the fall or late summer when we know for sure that the road has been finished. For June 28 we decided to work on an easily accessible site, sections 17c-d (see separate report). We will thus need to brush out the remaining ~1 mile of trail to Round Top, and we still need to log and brush out a short segment over the top of Hazelnut and paint blazes there as well. Once these tasks are completed, then the entire Heart of Darkness will be in perfect condition.

Rick Harris, travel time 2 hours, work time 5 hours
Brenda Harris, travel time 2 hours, work time 5 hours
Butch Horn, travel time 4 hours, work time 5 hours
Liz Carter, travel time 4 hours, work time 5 hours
Bob Ruby, travel time 6 hours, work time 5 hours
Steve Cartwright, travel time 4 hours, work time 5 hours

TOTAL HOURS: 22 + 30 = 52 Hours

Tuesday, September 29, 2009: BMT Section 14a, TN68 to Coker Creek. Rick Harris and Steve Biatowas logged out the entire section from TN68 to Coker Creek, removing 20 trees from the trail, some of them quite large, up to 24 inches in diameter. George Owen brushed about half of the distance from TN68 to Coker Creek and plans to go back soon on his own to brush out the remaining distance. We also plan to go back soon to repaint the blazes on this section. Work hours are below:

Rick Harris, travel time 2 hours, work time 7 hours
George Owen, travel time 2 hours, work time 7 hours
Steve Biatowas (USFS employee), work time 7 hours

Total VOLUNTEER HOURS 21 hours

Thursday, October 22, 2009: BMT Section 14a-c, Unicoi Gap to Coker Creek. Rick Harris, George Owen and two friends of George's finished off this section today to USFS standards. Rick repainted blazes from Unicoi Gap to TN68. David & Victorial Kelsey repainted blazes from TN68 to Coker Creek, and George Owen brushed out most of the the two miles closest to Coker Creek. George plans to go back soon to finish off this section. Volunteer hours are as below:

Rick Harris, travel time 2 hours, work time 7.5 hours
George Owen, travel time 2.5 hours, work time 7.5 hours
David Kelsey, travel time 2.5 hours, work time 7.5 hours
Victoria Kelsey, travel time 2.5 hours, work time 7.5 hours

Total VOLUNTEER HOURS 39.5


October 23, 2009:  TN68 Signs BMT Section 14a/b - George Owen met Steve Biatowas and they tried for almost an hour to dig into what turned out to be bedrock for the two Hwy. 68 signs. After about 45 minutes the effort was postponed until Steve could rent a jackhammer. George did a little trimming in addition.
 
George Owen     WORK HOURS: 1.25    OWEN TRAVEL HOURS: 2
 
Friday, October 30, 2009: BMT Section 14a - TN68 to Coker Creek. George Owen left home a little before noon and drove to Coker Creek parking on FS228, arriving about 1:00. He worked until a few minutes before six with the brushcutter, and completed clearing out that last mile-plus above the Coker Creek bridge - lots of brush and small tree clearing there (more than h thought). IT'S ALL DONE ON THAT SECTION, Coker Creek footbridge to Hwy. 68. This included taking out a small tree and a large trip root with his folding saw. Volunteer hours are as below: 
 
HOURS WORKED: 5
HOURS TRAVELED: 2.5
Total Volunteer hours: 7.5
 
November 2, 2009: TN68 Signs BMT Section 14a/b -  George Owen again met Steve Biatowas to put in the two signs. This time was a total success, but as you now know, it took 6 hours of jackhammering and clearing out rock. Then George did some further trimming on the banks to make the signs more obvious. Thus his hours are:
 
George Owen     WORK HOURS: 6.5    TRAVEL HOURS: 2
 
November 5, 2009: TN68 Signs BMT Section 14a/b - George Owen was determined to finish the sign on the west side of Hwy. 68. After the Nov. 2 trip it still lacked the lower (smaller) sub-sign designating the BMT because of wrong-size bolts. Steve allowed George to take the sign, and he later secured longer bolts (galvinized 4" ea. with lock washers too). Determined to have these up by the Fri. of the start of annual meeting, on Thurs. afternoon, Nov. 5, he drove up again to the 68 crossing to put this final sub-sign on the trail crossing westside posts. This he accomplished in less than 30 minutes. Then heI further cleared and did a little detail work on that side.
 
George Owen     WORK HOURS: 0.75    TRAVEL HOURS: 2

Wednesday, February 15, 2010 - BMT Section 14b-c - Unicoi Gap to TN68. Mike Dozier and his wife cleared 11 blowdowns off this section of the trail (which is a joint hiking and motorcycle trail). The Tellico Motorcycle Riders Club is responsible for this section of trail and has done an excellent job of reworking the tread in sections and keeping this trail clear of blowdowns and brush. Volunteer hours are reported below:

Mike Dozier, travel time 2 hours, work time 7 hours
Cherie Dozier, travel time 2 hours, work time 7 hours
TOTAL VOLUNTEER HOURS: 18 hours

February 21, 2010 - BMT Sections 13, 14 and 15 - BMTA Saw-A-Thon - On this warm clear winter day, 9 workers split into 4 crews to clear logs off the lower elevations of the BMT. We could not go to the high elevations due to the snow still up there. One crew went from Unicoi Gap to Tate Gap and cleared 21 trees, one crew went to TN68 and went uphill to the motorcycle trail, then downhill about 2 miles toward Coker Creek and only cleared a few trees, using the chain saw on only about 5 trees. It was evident that someone cleared the trees in advance of our trip to create an illegal 4-wheeler trail along the BMT. This was most obvious from TN68 uphill to the motorcycle trail. The third crew went to the Coker Creek campsite area and went uphill for about 2+ miles toward TN68 and cleared 9 trees, then met the crew coming down the mountain. They then returned to Coker Creek then went a short ways up the Coker Creek Falls Trail, clearing another couple of trees. The fourth crew went west on the John Muir Trail/BMT from Coker Creek to the east end of the reroute, clearing 12 or so trees. Afterwards, some returned to Rick Harris's home for Cincinnati Chili and homemade bread. Volunteer hours for the day are below:

Name

Travel Hours

Work Hours

Totals

Rick Harris

2

5

7

Bill Lundin 3 5 8
Rick Foster 1.5 5 6.5
Eric Eades 3.5 6 9.5
Tom Smith 1 6 7
Richard Sullivan 3 7 10
Marc Bernatti 1.5 7 8.5

Marty Dominy

7

7

14

Larry Dunn

2

7

9

Totals

24.5

55

79.5

April 20, 2010: BMT Section 14b-c - Unicoi Gap to TN68 - Tom Coppinger and Mike Gray reworked 80 feet of the motorcycle trail tread. Volunteer hours are below:

Tom Coppinger, 1.5 hours travel, 4 hours work = 5.5 hours
Mike Gray, 1 hour travel, 4 hours work = 5 hours
TOTAL VOLUNTEER HOURS = 10.5 HOURS

April 26, 2010: BMT Section 14b-c - Unicoi Gap to TN68 - Tom Coppinger and Mike Dozier cleared 4 trees off the motorcycle trail. Volunteer hours are below:

Tom Coppinger, 1.5 hours travel, 4 hours work = 5.5 hours
Mike Dozier, 2 hour travel, 4 hours work = 6 hours
TOTAL VOLUNTEER HOURS = 11.5 HOURS

April 28, 2010: BMT Section 14b-c - Unicoi Gap to TN68 - Tom Coppinger and Mike Gray reworked 175 feet of the motorcycle trail tread. Volunteer hours are below:

Tom Coppinger, 1.5 hours travel, 4 hours work = 5.5 hours
Mike Gray, 1 hour travel, 4 hours work = 5 hours
TOTAL VOLUNTEER HOURS = 10.5 HOURS

May 6, 2010: BMT Section 14b-c - Unicoi Gap to TN68 - Members of the Tellico Motorcycle Club reworked 200 feet of the motorcycle trail tread. Volunteer hours are below:

Tom Coppinger, 1.5 hours travel, 6 hours work = 7.5 hours
Mike Gray, 1 hour travel, 6 hours work = 7 hours
Mike Dozier, 1 hour travel, 6 hours work = 7 hours
Steve ?, 1 hour travel, 6 hours work = 7 hours
Buck Bailey, 1 hour travel, 6 hours work = 7 hours
TOTAL VOLUNTEER HOURS = 35.5 HOURS

May 10, 2010: BMT Section 14b-c - Unicoi Gap to TN68 - Members of the Tellico Motorcycle Club reworked 200 feet of the motorcycle trail tread. Volunteer hours are below:

Tom Coppinger, 1.5 hours travel, 6 hours work = 7.5 hours
Mike Gray, 1 hour travel, 6 hours work = 7 hours
TOTAL VOLUNTEER HOURS = 14.5 HOURS

May 18, 2010: BMT Section 14b-c - Unicoi Gap to TN68 - Members of the Tellico Motorcycle Club reworked 125 feet of the motorcycle trail tread. Volunteer hours are below:

Tom Coppinger, 1.5 hours travel, 6 hours work = 7.5 hours
Mike Gray, 1 hour travel, 6 hours work = 7 hours
TOTAL VOLUNTEER HOURS = 14.5 HOURS

May 30, 2010: BMT Section 14b-c - Unicoi Gap to TN68 - Members of the Tellico Motorcycle Club cleared 3 logs off the motorcycle trail. Volunteer hours are below:

Mike Dozier, 2 hours travel, 2 hours work = 4 hours
Cherie Dozier, 2 hour travel, 2 hours work = 4 hours
Carrol Baldwin, 1 hour travel, 2 hours work = 3 hours
TOTAL VOLUNTEER HOURS = 11 HOURS

June 19, 2010: BMT Section 14b-c - Unicoi Gap to TN68 - Tom Coppinger of the Tellico Motorcycle Club worked with Steve Biatowas, Trails Tech for USFS, with the trail machine on the motorcycle trail tread. Volunteer hours are below:

Tom Coppinger, 1.5 hours travel, 6 hours work = 7.5 hours
TOTAL VOLUNTEER HOURS = 7.5 HOURS

June 24, 2010: BMT Section 14b-c - Unicoi Gap to TN68 - Members of the Tellico Motorcycle Club reworked 150 feet of the motorcycle trail tread and built two water diversion. Volunteer hours are below:

Tom Coppinger, 1.5 hours travel, 5 hours work = 6.5 hours
Mike Gray, 1 hour travel, 5 hours work = 6 hours
TOTAL VOLUNTEER HOURS = 12.5 HOURS

June 29, 2010: BMT Section 14b-c - Unicoi Gap to TN68 - Members of the Tellico Motorcycle Club reworked 175 feet of the motorcycle trail tread and built two water diversion. Volunteer hours are below:

Tom Coppinger, 1.5 hours travel, 6 hours work = 7.5 hours
Mike Gray, 1 hour travel, 6 hours work = 7 hours
TOTAL VOLUNTEER HOURS = 14.5 HOURS

July 6, 2010: BMT Section 14b-c - Unicoi Gap to TN68 - Members of the Tellico Motorcycle Club reworked 165 feet of the motorcycle trail tread and built two water diversion. Volunteer hours are below:

Tom Coppinger, 1.5 hours travel, 5 hours work = 6.5 hours
Mike Gray, 1 hour travel, 5 hours work = 6 hours
TOTAL VOLUNTEER HOURS = 12.5 HOURS

July 21, 2010: BMT Section 14b-c - Unicoi Gap to TN68 - Members of the Tellico Motorcycle Club reworked 475 feet of the motorcycle trail tread and cleared 3 trees off the trail. Volunteer hours are below:

Mike Dozier, 2 hours travel, 5 hours work = 7 hours
Tom Coppinger, 1.5 hours travel, 5 hours work = 6.5 hours
Mike Gray, 1 hour travel, 5 hours work = 6 hours
Brent Hodges, 2 hours travel, 5 hours work = 7 hours
Robin Berry, 3 hours travel, 5 hours work = 8 hours
Buck Bailey, 2 hours travel, 5 hours work = 7 hours
TOTAL VOLUNTEER HOURS = 41.5 HOURS

July 22, 2010: BMT Section 14b-c - Unicoi Gap to TN68 - Members of the Tellico Motorcycle Club cleared 3 logs off the motorcycle trail. Volunteer hours are below:

Tom Coppinger, 1.5 hours travel, 2 hours work = 3.5 hours
Mike Dozier, 2 hour travel, 2 hours work = 4 hours
TOTAL VOLUNTEER HOURS = 7.5 HOURS

Thursday, July 24, 2010: BMT Section 14b-c - Unicoi Gap to TN68 - Mike Dozier and members of the Tellico Motorcycle Club rebuild about 450 feet of the trail bed near Unicoi Gap and cleared two trees off the trail.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010: BMT Section 14a - Coker Creek to TN68 - Three of us set out Monday, August 10, to brush out the four miles from the Coker Creek Bridge on FS Road 228 to TN Hwy. 68 on Section 14a in Tennessee. Heat and equipment problems led to two of us quitting early. Rick Harris completed most of his assignment of working west alone with a brushcutter from Hwy. 68.  He worked until after 3:00 p.m. Ken Jones and George Owen worked east and uphill from the Coker Creek Bridge. George kept having problems with his brushcutter, so he went back some distance to his truck for his industrial weedeater. By sometime before the noon hour the stifling heat with no breeze whatsoever was so bad that wimp Owen suggested quitting for the day. It didnít take much to convince Ken to join this pact of retreat. So we stopped work. Ken walked further uphill trying to contact Rick coming from the other direction, and finally contacted him on radio, announcing the turnaround of us westward two. Ken and George ate lunch at noon, and headed out. Rick worked on and completed about 1.3 miles alone. So about two miles of the four remain to be brushed yet. Volunteer hours are below:

Rick Harris, 1.5 hours travel time, 5.5 hours work time = 7 hours
George Owen, 3 hours travel time, 4 hours work time = 7 hours
Ken Jones, 2 hours travel time, 4 hours work time = 6 hours

August 12, 2010: BMT Section 14b-c - Unicoi Gap to TN68 - Members of the Tellico Motorcycle Club reworked 300 feet of the motorcycle trail tread and built four water diversion. Volunteer hours are below:

Tom Coppinger, 1.5 hours travel, 4 hours work = 5.5 hours
Mike Gray, 1 hour travel, 4 hours work = 5 hours
TOTAL VOLUNTEER HOURS = 10.5 HOURS

August 17, 2010: BMT Section 14b-c - Unicoi Gap to TN68 - Members of the Tellico Motorcycle Club reworked 125 feet of the motorcycle trail tread and built four water diversion. Volunteer hours are below:

Tom Coppinger, 1.5 hours travel, 4 hours work = 5.5 hours
Mike Gray, 1 hour travel, 4 hours work = 5 hours
TOTAL VOLUNTEER HOURS = 11.5 HOURS

Monday, October 11, 2010: BMT Section 14a - Coker Creek to TN68 - Rick Harris and Ken Jones finished off brushing out the middle section of the Unicoi Mtn Trail. The started out rather cool in the 40s, but by the end of the day it was up in the mid 80's. This section of trail is in good shape except for about a half dozen blowdowns which are easy to get over or around. We will log these out with the spring Saw-A-Thons. This is George Owen's section, but due to hikes he is leading, etc, he knew he would not get up there anytime soon to finish it off. So we finished it off for him in advance of the upcoming BMTA Backpack through this section. While working on the trail, we met two backpackers on a 7-day backpack trip going from the Ocoee River to Deal's Gap. Volunteer hours are as follows:

Rick Harris, 1.5 hours travel, 7.5 hours work = 9.0 hours
Ken Jones, 2 hours travel, 7.5 hours work = 9.5 hours
TOTAL VOLUNTEER HOURS = 18.5 hours

Saturday, January 22, 2011: BMT Section 13d-e and Section 14a - Towee Creek to TN68 -

Nine trail work volunteers converged to three areas of the Benton MacKaye Trail to work at low elevation on this beautiful crisp winter day. The original plans were to work on the trail in the Heart of Darkness and up near Waucheesi Bald, but they had to move to lower elevations and asphalt access due to closed forest service roads and too much snow and ice at high elevations.
 
Richard Sullivan, Tom Smith, David Blount, and a new volunteer Garry Day from down around Ocoee, TN, met at the TN68 crossing of the BMT south of the village of Coker Creek and logged out 11 deadfalls on the trail from there to the BMT bridge over Coker Creek and also cleared brush away from the trail. Bill Hodge and Larry Dunn logged 5 trees off the trail from the Coker Creek Bridge going downstream along the Hiwassee River toward the Apalachia Powerhouse.
 
Rick Harris, Ken Jones and Bobby Mitchell met at the Towee Creek Access along the Hiwassee River along with Steve Biatowas (Ocoee/Hiwassee Ranger District Trails Tech). They first scoped out various possible bridge locations to get over Towee Creek. Plans are to possibly construct a new synthetic material bridge over the creek similar to the bridges used on the Cumberland Trail. Next step is to get the hydrologist in to look over the possible crossing sites. Once a site is chosen, then the BMTA can work with the national forest on getting the appropriate surveys done and find a funding source such as a TN Greenways & Trails RTP Grant and/or an American Hiking Society Grant.

After finishing with the bridge scoping, they then went east on the John Muir Trail Reroute Section and rebuilt a short section of trail around a large hole in the trail created when a large tree right on the edge of the trail fell and took the trail with it. They also hiked the rest of the reroute to the intersection with the old JMT, clearing two large logs off the trail and removing brush which was encroaching upon the trail. Unfortunately, they found another large hole in the trail near the east end of the reroute which is going to take a large crew and a whole day to fix. Since the hole is on a steep sideslope on a rock face, the hole will have to be filled with rocks to create a rock step staircase.

Afterwards, Ken Jones and Rick Harris checked out the new gate which has been placed on the road leading up to the south end of the Lost Creek Section near the Hiwassee Outfitters campground. The previous standard issue farm gate has now been replaced by a heavy duty steel bar gate. It will be much easier for hikers to get through this gate than the old one.

Volunteer hours on Sections 14a are below:

Name

Travel Hours

Work Hours

Totals

Richard Sullivan 3 4.5 7.5
Tom Smith 1 4.5 5.5
David Blount 4.5 4.5 9
Garry Day 1 4.5 5.5

Volunteer Totals

9.5 18 27.5

November 26, 2011 - BMT Section 14a - Towee Creek to Motorcycle Trail - Eleven maintainers enjoyed this warm late November day following Thanksgiving working off some of those excess calories on this 4.5 mile stretch of trail. The entire section is now maintained to standards with all logs removed and brushed out from where the BMT leaves the motorcycle trail on top of Unicoi Mountain down to the bridge over Coker Creek. Some sidehilling and filling in two holes in the trail from trees which fell taking out the trail with the rootball. We will probably do this work in the spring.

Name

Travel Hours

Work Hours

Totals

Rick Harris

0.5

6

6.5

Larry Dunn 2.5 6 8.5
Shirley Adams 2 6 8
Chris Beck 2 6 8
Lucas Beck 2 6 8
Greta Farmer 2 6 8
Tom Smith 1 6 7
Richard Sullivan 3 6 9
Bill Hodge 0.5 6 6.5
Richard Taylor

2.5

5

7.5

Kim, friend of Richard Taylor

2.5

5

7.5

Totals

20.5

64

84.5

September 2, 2012 - TN/NC BMTA Maintenance Trip - BMT Section 14a - Coker Creek to TN68 - Five maintainers, including the two section maintainers John & Zoe Zartas, logged and brushed out this section from TN68 down to Coker Creek, getting out just as the rain was coming in 28" tree, too big for our sawfrom Hurricane Isaac. We got a late start due to a couple getting lost on the back roads, but we got all the work done. This was John and Zoe's first work trip with chainsaw since attaining their certification. Rick Harris stuck with them and helped John plan out his cuts, etc. We cut out about 12 trees, a few quite large and complex, going through 3 tanks of gas on the chainsaw. We left two behind, about midway on the trail. One was too large for our chainsaw, about 28 inches in diameter, and one was suspended above the trail in a precarious position about 18 inches in diameter. John and Zoe will contact Steve Biatowas, Ocoee Trails Tech, to go out with them to get these two trees with his bigger saws and greater experience. Dan and Debbie Nennstiel, new maintainers from Tallahassee, FL, who have a cabin closeby, joined us. They have lots of chainsaw experience down in18" suspended tree Florida, but are not currently certified by the USFS. They plan to get their certification soon and have agreed to take on section 16a (Sandy Gap to Round Top), which is very close to their cabin. This is the lower half of the infamous Heart of Darkness. Also, Mary Beth Sutton was going to join us from Signal Mountain with her high school daughter, but did not make it due to computer difficulties. Her daughter had to finish a school paper by Monday, but late Saturday night she accidentally deleted her whole paper and had to use Sunday to retype her whole paper. That fits right up there in the category of "the dog ate it".

Name

Travel Hours

Work Hours

Totals

John Zartas 1 7 8
Zoe Zartis 1 7 8
Rick Harris 2 7 9
Dan Neenstiel 1.5 7 8.5
Debbie Neenstiel 1.5 7 8.5

Volunteer Totals

7 35 42

Saturday, October 13, 2012 - BMT Section 14a - TN68 to Coker Creek - John and Zoe Zardis worked with Steve Biatowas to remove the two big trees that were left behind from our 9/2/12 chainsaw work trip. We needed Before the cutSteve's expertise and additional equipment to do the job. The first big tree was a beautiful red oak whose root system was compromised.  We only had a 16 inch bar chainsaw with us so Steve and John got on both sides of the tree to cut it. When it was set free, the trunk stood back up! The second tree was also large and wasAfterwards, the tree trunk stood up suspended above the trail. Steve instructed John on how/where to cut through the mess of branches at the top of the tree. Once the tree was dislodged and laying on the trail, John and Zoe were able to saw on both sides of it. Several cuts needed to be made and Steve's pry bar made it possible for us to roll the large logs off the trail and down the hill. There were also 2 more small trees that were obstructing the trail that were removed. Some areas of the trail are eroding and need to be rebuilt. This will be the focus of a future work trip.

Name

Travel Hours

Work Hours

Totals

John Zartas 0.5 6 6.5
Zoe Zartis 0.5 6 6.5
Steve Biatowas (USFS) (0.5) (6) (6.5)

Volunteer Totals

1.0 12 13

Saturday, November 17, 2012 - BMT Section 14b - TN68 to the Motorcycle Trail - Zoe Zardis worked on the half mile stretch from TN68 to the Motorcycle Trail throwing off branches and brushing out the section.

Name

Travel Hours

Work Hours

Totals

Zoe Zartis 0.5 2 2.5


        
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