Spooky Beaver Update – 11-19-18


– Thanks: For another great year of trail maintenance activities at Prince William Forest Park. I appreciate everyone checking and reporting on your trail sections, and helping your fellow overseers during our monthly work trips.

– Saturday – 8 December 2018 – Crew Worktrip: I know, we typically stop work trips over the winter with the monthly worktrip in November. However, the park staff just approved a 4 foot extension to an existing footbridge on the South Valley Trail that will help correct a trail safety issue. Meet at the MEET AT THE PINE GROVE PICNIC AREA BY 9:00 AM. AGAIN, PINE GROVE PICNIC AREA by 9:00 AM.. Depending on where we are allowed to access the South Valley Trail, we will be carrying the wood, power tools, and supplies up to a mile and a half. Please drop me a note if you can make it.

– Clear Water Diversions For the Winter: Almost all of the hardwood trees in the park have now dropped their leaves. After this next cold snap, please clear and re-grade as necessary the water diversions on your trail sections so water continues to be directed off the trail over the winter. Please let me know if you need assistance.

– Sign Out Keys and Tools: Please sign out any keys or tools if you take them away from the PATC sheds. Otherwise, folks report them as missing. Note there is only one power tool shed/fire road gate key. It’s first come, first served.

– Blazing Paint: The blazing paint has been removed from the hand tools shed for the winter. If you think you’ll blaze your trail section over the winter (dry tree in the morning and overnight, and the temperature doesn’t drop below 35 degrees overnight), contact me to get a can of your trail section’s paint. Painting supplies and materials will stay in the hand tools shed over the winter.

– Welcome to the Crew: A hearty welcome to Shawn, the new overseer for the Algonquin Trail; Paul, the new overseer for the Chopawamsic Trail; and Ken, who joined the crew to help out wherever he is needed, especially during the week.

– Who Can Volunteer During the Week?: If you’re available to volunteer during the week, please let me know so I can get priority tasks done during the week. You may also be asked to partner with Mike from the park’s maintenance staff to work on trails as well as serve as a swamper while he sawyers. Please drop me a note if you can volunteer during the week.

– Crew Roster: Please review the Spooky Beaver Crew Roster sent to you via email, and let me know if any phone or email changes are needed. Please note the expiration date of your club membership. As a reminder, active club membership is required to be an overseer. You can use the roster to send emails to the crew to request assistance with trail tasks on your trail section, particularly if you need an extra pair of hands (or two or three) to work on your trail section (think painting blazes which requires two people).

– Open Trail Sections: The Crew Roster notes the trails sections for which an overseer is needed. Please share this information with friends and family. Also, if you’d like me to recruit a co-overseer or even an overseer to replace you on the crew, please contact me.

– Chain Saw Training: The club continues to work with the National Park Service and PWFP leadership to offer chain saw certification training for Spooky Beaver crew members. We are hoping the 3.5 day certification class will be offered at PWFP in the spring. We are also hoping to continue the 2-day certification and one-day recertification training at Shenandoah National Park, but that requires much more dialogue and coordination with multiple organizations. If you’re interested in becoming chain saw certified, please contact me.

– New Spooky Beaver Website: Thanks to Mike for volunteering to be the crew’s webmaster, and for getting our new website up and running. It’s still a work in progress, but check out our new URL: www.spookybeavers.net . Mike and I are seeking a third person to have webmaster access to update the webpages. Drop me a note if interested.

– November Crew Outing: Jim and his Farm to Forest Trail were the main beneficiary of the crew’s effort at our November worktrip. Mark, Steve, Tim, Mike and Alan added logs to multiple existing dirt water diversion devices and regraded each as well. Most participants later moved to the Oak Ridge Trail to clear forest debris to allow water to drain from a swampy section of the trail. Thanks to everyone who came out.

– Annual PATC Meeting and Awards Banquet: PATC’s 91st Anniversary Annual Meeting & Awards Banquet will be held on November 28, at the Meadowlark Botanical Gardens, 9750 Meadowlark Gardens Court, Vienna, VA. Go to
https://www.patc.net/PATC/News/2018Meeting.aspx for more info and to purchase tickets.

Also, if you’re not planning to attend the dinner, you can vote via absentee ballot to elect Executive Committee members of the club. Go to
https://www.patc.net/PATC/Candidate_Statements.aspx to request an absentee ballot and read statements from each candidate for office. Absentee ballots must reach the club headquarters by November 28.


– No Significant New Digging: The park leadership has directed we not do any significant new digging on the trails until the Trail Management Plan is completed and shared with the public. The plan will propose which trails to keep, which trails to abandon, and what new trails need to be created. I do not expect the plan be released until January, 2019. From what I’ve been told, there will be multiple new sections of trail that will need to be built in the coming years with new trail heads and parking lots. But, for now, continue to maintain your existing water diversion devices, and check with me first if you need to create new ones or if the trail is significantly eroding, particularly if it is disappearing into a creek or stream.

– Bears: Yes, black bears have been spotted in the park this year. See attached for how to respond should you encounter a bear in the park. In general, bears run away from humans if you make a lot of noise, wave your arms, and give them space to move away from you. If you do spot a bear and need assistance, notify the Law Enforcement rangers by calling (301) 714-2235 (non-emergency) or (866) 677-6677 (emergency). Otherwise, during the week notify Resource Management at (703) 221-4706 Ext 273 or (571) 477-5203. (Hint: Stop right now and put these phone numbers in your cellphone contacts). Finally, note the bear sighting in your worktrip report.

– Visitor Center Winter Hours: The Visitor Center is closed on Tuesdays, Wednesday, and Thursdays through March 13, 2019. When open, the winter hours are 8:00 am to 4:00 p.m. If the Visitor Center is closed, please continue to let the Law Enforcement Rangers know you are out on the trails, and in particular if you are accessing a fire road. You can try to catch them at the Turkey Run Education Center (knock on door on the right side of the building) or call the non-emergency number – (301) 714-2235. You’ll need to tell them you are a PATC volunteer at Prince William Forest Park, and you want them to notify the on duty PWFP law enforcement rangers of the trail section you’re working on and what, if any, fire roads you’ll be accessing or where you are planning to use a chain saw. Do the same as you depart the park.

Mark Ellis
District Manager
Potomac Appalachian Trail Club
Prince William Forest Park

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