Sat, Apr 15 2017 - Giving Back to favorite AOC Trails in the Chattahoochee River Nat’l Rec Area (View Original Event Details)

Trip Leader(s): Charlie Cottingham
Participants:Charlie Cottingham, Gayle M., Stephen, Sakthivel Thangaswamy, Gerrilyn

Write Up:

Thanks to Gayle, Gerrilyn, Stephen and Sakthivel for pitching in enthusiastically this morning with our volunteer trail work in the "Columns Drive" portion of the Cochran Shoals park unit.  We were supervised by my friend Dave Thomas of the National Park Service who specializes in managing the CRNRA's volunteer projects.  Several young teenage Boy Scouts and their parents from a Lawrenceville troop also worked with us, as did two friendly "frequent volunteers" named Todd & Josh and a few other folks from the general public who like us love the CRNRA.  Luckily the weather was gorgeous and we learned a lot about trail design, building and maintenance!  
  After a brief training session, we began with some needed "shortcut trail prevention" directly beside the Columns Drive public parking lot - piling up barriers of fallen limbs where bikers & hikers had begun to create improper shortcut paths.  One of these that we needed to block crossed a stream beside the public restroom.  Other small trails that we blocked with large limbs were improperly entering 
the forest just beyond the parking lot.
  We then got some good experience by working together on a nearby dual-use hiking & mountain biking trail to improve its "tread" and its ability to drain water off its natural downhill side and through its natural low points via well-dug and appropriately sloped "drainage nicks."  Dave, Todd & Josh gave us excellent training in the safe and proper use of special trail-building tools including "McLeod" rakes and sharp "Pulaski" hoe-axes.  Here's an excellent webpage that summarizes what we learned and practiced today:
  We were done with Dave's priority projects by 12:00 noon, but since Kudzu is one of my personal "pet peeves" I stuck around awhile to pull, cut and dispose of a big thicket of the noxious vine (hundreds of linear feet of it) that was sadly thriving directly beside the Columns Drive parking lot kiosk. 
  We look forward to joining Dave and his "regulars' again for future CRNRA trailwork days (usually meeting at the Columns Drive "volunteer gate" on the 3rd Sat of each month at 9AM).  We also intend to continue working with them on various other special CRNRA projects such as river trash cleanups and "privet pulls."   - Submitted by Charlie, AOC Director of Vol. Events, Sat PM Apr 15th