One of the motivations for starting High Peaks was the recognition that little or no routine trail maintenance was being done on most Yancey County hiking trails, especially those in the Black Mountains. After deep budget cuts, the U.S. Forest Service no longer had the funds or personnel to do the job, and the trails were too far afield for the Asheville-based Carolina Mountain Club. As a result, the Black Mountain Crest Trail and other local tracks were so overgrown that in places hikers could not see where to put their feet.
To fill this gap, High Peaks began summer weed-eating of these trails in 2012 and has kept it up every year since, despite the challenge of manually hauling heavy machines and gas up to high elevations. The club sweeps the trails several times a year, again manually hauling chain saws to clear downed trees that can be a serious hazard to hikers. We also do our best to improve the tread of these trails, working under the limitation that most are decades-old ridgeline tracks that invite heavy erosion. We push for re-routes and the incorporation of modern, water-shedding sustainable trail design where we can, but extensive re-routing requires a years-long process of applications, studies, planning and approvals by the relevant land-use agencies.
We are always looking for volunteers for our weekly trail maintenance crew. If interested send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
Some Trail Maintenance Projects:
Neals Creek Bridge
One of the club's most fun and challenging projects was the construction of a log bridge across Neal's Creek on the Mountains-to-Sea Trail, about a mile east of the Black Mountain Campground Trailhead. CMC Historian/Archivist Rocko Smucker produced these videos highlighting and celebrating the project:
Mount Mitchell Trail and General Trail Maintenance Activities