Roanoke club helping with foot-by-foot survey of Appalachian Trail

With cicadas buzzing above their heads and a splash of a nearby stream providing the metronome to their march, two men document the details of a section of the Appalachian Trail in Craig County, VA in hopes of earning the recognition they say it deserves.

They wake up early, prepare for a long day of hiking through the woods and traipse through a different stretch of the trail each day. These excursions are not for fun. This is business.

Jim Webb, volunteer trail supervisor with the Roanoke Appalachian Trail Club, and Conner McBane, invasive species coordinator for the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, are conducting an in-depth inventory of various man-made features along the trail near Roanoke.

“It gives you a new appreciation for what is out here,” said McBane, who has hiked various sections of the trail. “I think it really shows all the work that all the volunteers have put in for decades and decades.”

The section the pair was studying last week stretches about 120 miles and holds shelters, bridges, campsites and parking lots.

The goal is to get a thorough documentation of what the section of trail in Southwest Virginia holds. McBane is studying an additional 280 miles in Virginia with the help of trail clubs that maintain those sections.

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