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Benton MacKaye
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BMTA Activities Calendar

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Listed below are the scheduled activities of the BMTA for 2014.  Work trips will be held on the second Saturday of the month in Georgia and on the fourth Saturday in Tennessee/North Carolina.  Recreational outings (Fun Hikes) are planned on other weekends to avoid scheduling conflicts with work trips and are set up as hike leaders become available.  Videos of previous hikes can be found on YouTube at

All Are Welcome

The BMTA welcomes all who would like to participate in any scheduled activity.  Members and non-members alike are encouraged to join in; no experience is necessary.


Recurring Monthly Events

  • 2nd Saturday - Georgia Work Trips - coordinated by Tom Keene
  • 3rd Saturday - Fun Public Hike - coordinated by Ralph Heller
  • 4th Saturday - Tennessee/North Carolina Work Trips - coordinated by Bill Hodge

      Planned Activities for 2014
      MonthDateLocation & Details
      August  August 1 Fun Hike - Beech Bottom Trail to Jacks River Falls – 10 easy miles: Although this hike is about 10 miles round trip, it is relatively easy due to little elevation gain. It follows an old abandoned road bed. Highlights are Jacks River at 4 miles and beautiful Jacks River Falls at 4.6 miles. To cool off, some folks say the pool at the base of the falls is the best swimming hole in GA. Bring lots of water and lunch
      Hike Leader is Mike Pilvinsky. To sign up for hike and for meeting time and location, call Mike at 706-273-2086.
        August 2 TN/NC Trail Maintenance Work Day - Mud Gap to Beech Gap along the Skyway: Steve Cartwright (section maintainer) and others plan to work on his section, logging it out and brushing the trail with swing blades and gas-powered brush cutters. Please join us. Meet at the Unicoi Crest Overlook on the Cherohala Skyway NC Mile 0.5, just over the state line, at 9 AM. Bring a daypack with food and water and bug repellant/suntan lotion. Wear long pants and sturdy boots. We will provide the tools, helmets, protective eye wear and gloves if you don't have your own. Notify Rick Harris if you plan to come at HarrisRi AT or 423-253-6358 home or 513-260-1184 cell. Or sign up on Meetup at
        August 9 Georgia Trail Maintenance Work Day (in Tennessee): Our Tennessee brethren can use our help catching up with summer growth after all this rain. So we are once again headed up the “Narrow Road to the Deep North.”*
      We will be working on Section 12b on both sides of the point where the BMT briefly touches the Kimsey Highway at the Deep Gap power line crossing. We will be cutting back vegetation with loppers and swing-blades. Trailhead meeting will be at that Deep Gap power line crossing.
      Long, slow drive; short walk: Unlike the recent Big Frog trips we will not have a long walk in to the work. In fact the work starts right at trailhead! The drive-times, though, are a bit longer, because the 10 miles or so on the Kimsey Highway will take about 45 minutes. The reward – it’s a beautiful section far away from human habitation.
      Meeting information (note new breakfast location): The Breakfast meeting will be at 8:00 AM at the McDonalds at the corner of Hwy 515/US76 and GA 5 (the road to McCaysville). Departure for the trailhead will be at 8:25am sharp. We will consolidate riders behind the DQ, then drive ca. 25 minutes up GA 5/ TN 68 to the sharp left turn at Vic’s Auto Parts onto the Kimsey Highway. Then we drive ca. 45 minutes (at about 15 mph!) on the Kimsey Hwy to the Deep Gap powerline crossing. So the trailhead meeting time is ca. 9:45AM.
      Important Cautionary Notes:
      • (1) Vehicles taken on Kimsey Hwy should have good road clearance. Road is quite eroded in spots. But traction is good; four-wheel drive not required.
      • (2) Water: bring at least two liters; it’s August.
      • (3) Poison ivy and bramble alert: Wear long pants and long-sleeve shirts and/or use Ivy Block liberally.
      FIRST-TIME VOLUNTEERS are most welcome. For what to expect, bring, wear, etc. check here:
      Trip leader: Tom Keene – tkbmta AT gmail DOT com – (c) 770-548-4935.
      See you there! Should be a great day in the woods!
      WEATHER POSTPONEMENT: If weather forces a change of plans, the trip will NOT be cancelled in most cases. Instead we will simply postpone the trip for one week. Because of the changeable nature of North Georgia weather we wait as long as possible before postponing. Usually the decision is made early Friday evening and circulated immediately by email.
      *Apologies to Basho
        August 9-10 Tellico Plains SEFTC/BMTA Trail Town Dedication: The dedication ceremony for the Tellico Plains SEFTC/BMTA Trail Town will be held at 5:30 PM at the Outpost Pavilion at Tellico Plains on Satuday, August 9. The dedication ceremony will include representatives from the BMTA, the Southeastern Foot Trails Coalition, TN Wild, SAWS, the USFS, and the mayor of Tellico Plains and of Monroe County TN. After introductions and brief talks by those represented, there will be a presentation of the financial impact of outdoor recreation on small towns which border a national forest. The dedication ceremony will be followed by food, music, and entertainment in the Outpost Pavilion.
      The dedication ceremony will be an integral part of the Tellico Wild Weekend Event sponsored by TN Wild. There will be several hikes and other outdoor fun events in the Tellico area on both Saturday and Sunday. See the attached poster. Sign up for the events is via the TN Wild Meetup Page, Spaces are limited since many of the hikes are in wilderness, with a limit of 12 participants for each of these events.
      Being designated an SEFTC/BMTA Trail Town will likely bring more hikers and backpackers to the area. A website features the amenities for hikers in the area such as cabins, camping, restaurants, and grocery stores, as well as links to local trails and other outdoor events. A trail guide to the area will in the future become available highlighting the local trails.
        August 16 Tellico Trail Maintenance Work Day: The Tellico Ranger District of the Cherokee National Forest is hosting a trail work trip to work on the Henderson Mountain Trail to improve the general condition of the trail. This will include tread repair, drainage, brushing, and possibly some logout. This trail is in the Bald River Gorge Wilderness which is a beautiful part of the Cherokee National Forest. The Henderson Mountain Trail is linked to the Cow Camp Trail and the Panther Branch Trail and make for some great hiking and backpacking loop opportunities. From those trails, hikers and backpackers can link to the Kirkland Creek and Brookshire Creek Trails as well as the Benton MacKaye Trail and the Warriors Passage Trail. We will meet at the visitor center in Tellico Plains, TN on Saturday, August 16 at 8 AM. The Tellico Ranger District can provide hard hats, gloves, safety glasses, and some tools for volunteers that do not have any. Be sure to wear long pants, sturdy boots, and bring a day pack with lunch and plenty of water (about 2-3 liters). If you are considering joining the trip or need more information, you may contact Travis Schwarzer at (teschwarzer AT, (423) 253-8412). Or you can sign up directly on the MeetUp page ( Please note that this trip is limited to 20 participants, so sign up quickly. Looking forward to see you there.
        August 20 Kennesaw REI — Benton MacKaye Trail Presentation: BMT Board member Bob Ruby will be giving a presentation on the BMT the evening of August 20th at REI, Kennesaw. Click here for further details and to register.
        August 23 TN/NC Trail Maintenance Work Day: Want to learn about crosscut saws and how to use them? Join SAWS for a day on the Benton MacKaye Trail for a “logging out” trip, where the crew will remove fallen trees from across the trail. Crew will use crosscut saws to cut out trees, as well as hand saws and loppers for brushing out the trail corridor. Both certified and new sawyers are welcome. We will carpool from the Cherohala Skyway Visitor Center to Sledrunner Gap and work towards Brookshire Creek. Bring a day pack, rain gear, lunch, and at least 2 liters/quarts of water. Durable, full-length pants and cut-resistant boots with ankle coverage are mandatory to comply with safety requirements. Hard hats, safety glasses, and gloves are required and will be provided. New volunteers are always welcome and our experienced staff leaders are happy to show you the ropes!
      Meeting time is 9:00AM at the Cherohala Skyway Visitor Center in Tellico Plains. This trip is also being treated as a SAWS Wild Crew Event and registration for the day is available at
      We will be working on brushing and logging out both trail north and south from Sled Runner Gap in the Upper Bald River Wilderness Study Area. We will be using traditional tools.
        August 30 First Aid/CPR Training: Conasauga Ranger District. For more information or to register, please contact Karen Larsen - kalarsen (at) or call 706-695-6736.
      September  September 18-21 All hikers are welcome at this Biennial Conference:  The 3-day event is sponsored by the Southeastern Foot Trails Coalition. Workshops, meals, and special speakers will be in the Blairsville, Georgia area. Hikes will be of varying lengths and difficulty, in the tri-state area. Main speakers include Janet Zeller of the USFS and Ron Tipton of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. Details for registration, local housing facilities (inns, cottages, camping), and meals are available on the SEFTC website. (Printable single page flyer)
        September 19 Cross-cut Saw Certification Class:  Blue Ridge Ranger District. For more information or to register, contact Valencia Morris - vcmorris (at) or call 706-745-6928. Note: to receive a cross-cut saw certification card, you must complete an approved First Aid/CPR course.
        September 27 TN/NC Trail Maintenance Work Day:  Meeting time is 9:00AM at the Unicoi Overlook Parking Area on the Cherohala Skyway just east of the state line/Beech Gap. Since most of this section is in designated Wilderness, only hand tools will be used to maintain this high altitude section of the Trail. We will follow the BMT over the bridge we relocated last year, and then north on the BMT/Fodderstack Trail, and return the same route. This is a fairly level stretch of trail, and we should be able to see the start of the Fall colors. Bring water, lunch and rain gear. For more information, call Trip Leader Dick Evans at 828-479-2503.
      October  October 17-19 BMTA Annual Meeting: This years meeting will be held in Coker Creek, Tennessee. See newsletter or contact Darcy at (bmtadarcy AT for details.

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