Roanoke Appalachian Trail Club seeks new volunteer Ridgerunners

Last spring, the Roanoke Appalachian Trail Club created a McAfee Knob Task Force to focus on resource protection and management challenges around the region’s most beloved and iconic A.T. landmark, McAfee Knob. Rapidly increasing visitation has led to an increase in avoidable environmental impacts, such as litter, graffiti, trail erosion and problematic bear behavior.

Eighteen McAfee Knob Volunteer Ridgerunners help mitigate these problems with outreach and maintenance. Volunteer Ridgerunners engage hikers in friendly conversations to educate them about the natural and cultural significance of the area and tips on best-practices for enjoying the trail safely and responsibly. They report on trail conditions and perform light trail maintenance to prevent small problems from getting worse – such as dismantling illegal fire rings, packing out trash and blocking social trails to discourage shortcutting. The group made a big difference last year and hopes to grow this year by adding new volunteers.

Do you have what it takes to be a Volunteer Ridgerunner? You don’t have to be an athlete – many of the most important conversations and maintenance happens right in the parking lot or within the first mile. If you want to join the lively group of dedicated stewards, The next Volunteer Ridgerunner Training Day is Saturday, March 19, 2016 from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Roanoke Regional Fire and Rescue Center, 1220 Kessler Mill Road, Salem. There will also be a Training Day on June 11.

To sign up, join the McAfee Knob Task Force MeetUp group and RSVP, or email Kathryn Herndon at kherndon@appalachiantrail.org. Herndon will email participants prior to the training with details about the agenda and what to expect.

 

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