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Give Back to Mason Mill Park with Ranger Jonah McDonald, author of our favorite Metro Atlanta hiking guidebook

The Basics:
Event Type:Volunteer
Event Location: NE Atlanta near Clairmont Rd & I-85   Volunteer: Give Back to Mason Mill Park with Ranger Jonah McDonald, author of our favorite Metro Atlanta hiking guidebook  National Weather Service Forecast
Date(s) & Time:Sun, Jan 12 2020  12:45 pm >> Sun, Jan 12 2020 3:00 pm
Registration Opens: Fri, Jan 10 2020 12:00 pm
Registration Cut Off: Sun, Jan 12 2020 9:00 am
Event Duration:2 Hours 15 Minutes
Difficulty Rating:D2: Easy to Moderate
Distance:2 Miles
Trip Leader(s):
Charlie Cottingham
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Member Cost:None

Participant Info:
Who's Invited: Members Only, 21 And Older Only
Maximum Group Size:10
Minimum Group Size:2
Number Registered So Far: 4 / 0 (To see who's signed up, log in to the Member Area)
Are Dogs Permitted: No


EVENT PLAN:   Beautiful sunny weather in the 60s is expected this Sunday afternoon after the rain ends on Saturday night.  Hope you can plan to give back to nature by pitching in with us on this ~2-hour volunteer project at one of our most popular AOC hiking venues.  It will be hosted by our friend, Ranger Jonah McDonald at Mason Mill Park here in NE Atlanta.

Here's Jonah's publicized description of this special "Volunteer Day" project. which is open to the General Public:   "Want to make our park more welcoming to all?  Come assist Ranger Jonah with trail maintenence and invasive plant removal.  Georgia Master Gardeners will also be hosting a gardening project, if weeding and mulching is more your speed.  Come beautify Mason Mill and restore the forest!  Wear long pants and appropriate footwear, dress for the weather, and bring a refillable water bottle.  Bring work gloves and a snack; tools and water will be provided.  Stay for as long as you are able, meet your neighbors, and help make our forest even more amazing.  Meet at the South Peachtree Creek trailhead near the Mason Mill Tennis Center (corner of McConnell Drive & Mason Mill Rd inside the Park).  All ages are invited."

Jonah is the author of the popular book, Hiking Atlanta's Hidden Forests, which has become probably our Club's favorite guide to the dozens of wonderful trails in and around metro Atlanta.  Since last January he has been on the professional staff of the DeKalb County Parks & Recreation Dept., and has done an amazing job interacting with visitors to Mason Mill Park and overseeing the improvement of the  Park's ecosystem and trail network.  His wide variety of free guided outings for fans of the Park have included not only spearheading volunteer events such as this one,  but also hosting a creative variety of guided nature hikes, telling campfire stories (with s'mores!) etc.

Our AOC "subgroup" will gather initially at 12:45 PM just inside the Mason Mill Park entrance (by the stone restroom building and kids' playground - see detailed Directions below).  If you don't have your own Work Gloves I'll have several extra pair that I'll be happy to lend during the project.  After AOC introductions we'll walk together to the nearby "PATH Trailhead" where at 1:00 PM we'll be greeted by Ranger Jonah and other volunteers. We expect to be back at the cars no later than about 3:00 PM.  If you need to "split" early from the group that's OK, but be sure to let me (Charlie) know if and when you do so.  It should be easy to direct you back to the parking lot.

MORE ABOUT MASON MILL and its other adjoining PARKS & TRAILS:  DeKalb County's Mason Mill Park conveniently interconnects with nearby Medlock Park, Ira Melton Park, and Emory's Lullwater Park via a network of shady trails and multi-million dollar forest canopy boardwalks like the one shown in the photo above.  The South Peachtree Creek "PATH" Trail is the main artery through this multi-park corridor, and like NW Atlanta's Silver Comet Trail was built to the high standards of Atlanta's nonprofit PATH Foundation.   Branching from the main trail are several miles of ruggedly scenic narrow paths and trails, many which adjoin the banks of "South Fork Peachtree Creek" and its sinuous tributaries - notably Burnt Fork Creek and Glen Creek.  An impressive section of the trail traverses the railroad track via a 3-story wooden deck & walkway.  Here hikers and bikers are treated to aerial views of the restored ruins of the historic early-20th-Century Decatur Waterworks.  The highest portion of the deck has proven to be a good dark spot for occasional urban "skygazing" - i.e, viewing the stars & planets, sunsets, moonrises, eclipses, meteor showers, etc.  From just below the Waterworks deck it's easy to cross the main creek via a pathway of huge flat stepping stones which at normal water levels allows easy access to Ira Melton Park and its white-blazed loop trail, etc.  In 2017 a new mile-long forest canopy boardwalk was opened between Mason Mill Park's DeKalb Tennis Center and North Druid Hills Road, which proved to be an instant AOC favorite. Then in 2018 the PATH Foundation opened a similar "double-wide" boardwalk + paved trail that make it easy to hike from Mason Mill Park to the Lullwater Park trail system at Emory (via a "hiker-biker underpass" to cross safely under Clairmont Rd near the VA Hospital).  A fourth nice DeKalb County park that's easy to access by foot from the above trails is the 28-acre Clyde Shepherd Nature Preserve, just a 10-minute walk east of Medlock Park.

FOR a COLOR MAP of the SOUTH PEACHTREE CREEK "PATH" TRAIL and how it interconnects Mason Mill & Medlock Park and other DeKalb County green space, click this link:

Required Items to Bring:

• As Jonah mentions, please wear Long Pants & appropriate footwear, and bring your own refillable Water Bottle.  Also Work Gloves if you have a pair and perhaps a Snack to enjoy during a break.  I (Charlie) have several pair of extra work gloves I'll bring to lend.

• Wear comfortable well-broken-in
Athletic Shoes or Hiking Boots and Lightweight Clothing appropriate for the weather. 
• Hydrate in advance and consider carrying in a light Daypack or Fanny Pack a filled Water Bottle or your "Camelbak" or other bladder-fed hydration system.

Recommended Items to Bring:
Use our Event Checklists to make sure you have everything you need.

How to Get There:
Event Directions:

FROM the I-85 CLAIRMONT ROAD EXIT in NE METRO ATLANTA to our MASON MILL PARK Meetup Spot:   (For a zoomable color MAP and satellite view of this spot and its vicinity click the square blue & green "Event Location" icon near the top of this article.)

1. From the I-85 "Clairmont Road" Exit (Exit #91) in NE Atlanta take Clairmont Rd southward (toward Decatur) about 2.3 miles to the traffic light at McConnell Drive.  (This is the next light south of the big Clairmont/ North Druid Hills intersection.  If you reach the huge VA Hospital you've gone a couple of blocks too far!)

2. Turn Left onto McConnell Drive, go just 0.1 mile, and turn Right at the stop sign to stay on McConnell. 
(Note the small "Mason Mill" directional sign here.)

3. Then turn Left almost immediately at the
 "Mason Mill Park" entrance sign into the large free parking lot.  We'll gather by the stone Restroom building near the Park entrance, adjoining the kids' playground.

GPS & USERS:  Feel free to augment my above verbal directions by entering as your Destination Address these concise Lat/Lon coordinates for our meetup spot, being sure to include the comma & minus sign:  33.8080, -84.3066

* We encourage all members to follow our Etiquette Guidelines while participating in AOC events.

Cost Includes:

Free Event with Free Parking!

Cancellation/Partial Attendance:   Please review the AOC cancellation policy.