We are in the planning stages for a work party for FATS. Please help get the word out. We have not finished the trail assessment but know that a lot of areas are overgrown and will need mowing, hedging, weed-wacking or lopping.
There is a running event scheduled to be held on Sunday, October 5th so we certainly welcome volunteer help from the running community (and we have had some volunteers from this group of trail users in the past). Hikers, dog walkers and any other trail users are also welcome to join us.
Tentative date being reviewed is Saturday, September 13th with a rain date of Saturday, September 20th.
If you volunteer what does it entail as far as helping? Do you walk the trails with a machete hacking bushes or walk the trails with a weed-whacker? I have never done it before but I really enjoy using the trails and have been thinking about helping out but I just don't know what is expected. Any info you could give I would greatly appreciate it.
Once we are finished assessing the trails (which we are doing right now), we will be able to determine how many volunteers we will need and the different types of work to be done. For this particular work party, we already know (from the assessment already completed) that we will be using our DR Mowers, Stihl Hedgers, Stihl Weedwacker, and loppers.
The mowers and hedgers are expensive equipment and we want to ensure that the people operating the equipment know how to do so safely. Generally each equipment operator will have one and sometimes two people traveling along with them equipped with loppers. This ensures that the trail gets cleared (sometimes there are branches, etc bent over into the trail that the mowers/hedgers don't remove). The people handling the loppers also serve as safety spotters and if they are trained or want to be trained they can also participate in the relieving the mower/hedger operator on longer jobs.
We also already know that there are trees down along the trail that need to be removed. During our assessment of Great Wall today we were able to remove one of the downed trees (about 1/3 mile in from the intersection of Skinny/Great Wall) with a handsaw. The other tree that is down is at about the 1.5 mile mark if traveling CCW on Great Wall. It will need to be removed by a USFS certified chainsawyer (one of whom was with me today) and that will likely take place before the work party.
Please feel free to come out and give us a hand (more details about the work party will be posted on the forum). It is a huge task to try to keep 150 miles of singletrack in good condition so the more volunteers we have, the less of a burden to the crew who normally tries to keep things taken care of. For your first time out you will likely be working as a spotter/lopper with one of the pieces of equipment so you can gain some understanding of how to operate it and the types of situations that can occur. Or you might go out with another lopper to help clear a section of trail out at FATS.
The work party is scheduled for Saturday, September 13th with a rain date of September 20th. Please let us know if you are available to help by emailing us at SORBAcsra We need people lopping and trained equipment operators (we will be using the DR mowers, hedgers and weedwacker. Plan is to start at 9AM.
We only have 5 people signed up for next Saturday's work party. With 5 people we will only be able to do minimal work and will have to concentrate on the areas that need the hard core equipment (DR mowers and hedgers). With just a few days to go, if you are able to commit some time to volunteer on Saturday, September 13th, the goal will be to work from 9am until just after noontime.
We do have a group that is going to be hitting the trail early (Tuesday) and reporting back on what they were able to accomplish. That can change the number of volunteers needed but they plan to concentrate on specific areas on two of the trails.
We need your help! Whatever does not get done will likely be left undone as we have reports of two of our other trails that needs some attention immediately. SIGN UP HERE
We were a little disappointed that we only had 11 people for the work party today. We made the best of the situation and were able to hit some of the areas that needed work the most with the crew we had.
I've spoken to a few riders who admitted that with crazy life schedules they simply have not had the time to come out and volunteer at a work party. If that describes you there are more ways that you can help>>> you can help by joining SORBAcsra - a portion of the money from your membership comes right back to this chapter to help buy and repair tools and equipment. Here is the online membership link, be sure and select Augusta, GA and Aiken, SC (CSRA) as your chapter IMBA SORBAcsra Online Membership, you can also make a donation to our chapter right HERE by selecting the yellow donate button in the middle of our homepage, and/or you can donate right at the trailhead donation box when you come and ride at FATS (the proceeds are collected by the USFS and is used specifically for FATS).
Although the pictures along the trail are from the work done in the area around the 3rd powerline crossing on the Skinny, our volunteers were out today working on key areas in the parking lot and on Deep Step, Brown Wave, Great Wall and Skinny! Thanks so much to the volunteers who came out to work on the trails we all enjoy!
Getting geared up and ready to go!
The ice storm earlier in the year opened the canopy and we will be dealing with these mega weeds for years I suspect:
There is no perfect tool for this type of work - the DR mower would have worked well on part, the hedger would have worked well on another part and the weed eater would have worked well on still another part, so you just have to select the equipment that will work best on a particular section of trail and go!
Not perfect but so much better!
Ran out of all primary and secondary fuel before we were finished so there is a section that will still need to be finished on this section of the Skinny!