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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 2019.  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.

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.


US Forest Service Alerts and Notices

Recurring Monthly Events

  • 2nd Saturday - Georgia Work Trips - coordinated by Phil Guhl
  • 4th Saturday - Tennessee/North Carolina Work Trips - coordinated by John Zardis
  • At least two "Fun Hikes" each month - coordinated by Ken Cissna

Note: Some of these activities are considerable driving distances. Please contribute gas money to your driver when you carpool. Thank You!

Planned Activities for 2019
MonthDateLocation & Details
July July 12 (Friday) Hike:  Pine Log Creek
5 miles, moderate (one steep 400’ climb). See beautiful lake at old rock quarry with lots of fish.
Contact hike leader Howard Baggett at
  July 14 (Sunday) Hike:  Gahuti Trail
8.1 miles, moderate to strenuous. Explore Fort Mountain State Park back country, including gorgeous overlook vistas and the cascades of a remote waterfall. State parking pass or $5 parking fee.
Contact hike leader Larry Dumas at
  July 20 (Saturday) Hike:  Mud Gap to Whigg Meadow (FAMILY AND DOG FRIENDLY HIKE—adult humans may bring children and one leashed dog)
3.2 miles, easy (500’ elevation change). From Mud Gap, along the Cherohala Skyway in North Carolina, we will walk on the Benton MacKaye Trail uphill to Whigg Meadow at 5000 feet with 360-degree views of the surrounding Tennessee and North Carolina mountains. Shortly after leaving Mud Gap, we will leave North Carolina for Tennessee. In addition, we will have a short detour to see the grave of an unknown person who was killed by the Kirkland Bushwackers during the Civil War (Google “Kirkland Bushwackers” before your trip for an interesting history lesson for all). The trail is rocky in some places so we’ll take it slow and easy. Bring a sack lunch to picnic at the meadow and plenty of water.
Contact hike leader Larry Van Dyke at
  July 22 (Monday) Hike:  Emery Creek in Cohuttas.
5 miles, moderate. The trail itself is fairly easy, but 26 stream crossings (a number up to your ankles and two to your knees), a bunch of downed trees that have to be traversed (over, under, and around), and a section of potentially slipper rock toward the beginning and again at the end make it more difficult than it otherwise would be. Holly and Emery Creeks, two lovely waterfalls, and a nice trail make it worth the trouble.
Contact hike leader Ken Cissna at or 813-310-6084
  July 26 (Friday) Hike:  Cartecay Loop Trail.
4 miles, moderate. Much of the trail runs along the Cartecay River.
Contact hike leader Mike Pilvinsky at
  July 27 (Saturday) TN/NC Work Trip:  Sycamore Creek section of the BMT, Section 17a and 17b, a 6 mile section.
Meeting Time and Place - 8 AM behind the Cherohala Skyway Visitor Center, Tellico Plains, TN (For those coming up from GA, contact Phil Guhl ( ) for plans for shuttle and to be sure we have enough equipment and PPE. Plan is to meet at the Home Depot parking lot in Blue Ridge at 7 AM).
Work Trip Leaders – Pam & Kent Mathews, with support from Rick Harris for TN/NC folks, and Phil Guhl for GA folks. TN/NC folks should let Pam Mathews know you are coming ( and GA folks should let Phil know you are coming ( ).
Plan for the Day – We will do sign-ins and the safety meeting at the Cherohala Skyway Visitor Center at 8 AM, then plan the shuttle. We will break up into three groups. Come a few minutes early to sign in.
Group 1 will go up the Skyway and out on Whigg Meadow Rd to where the BMT reaches the road. This group will go downhill, brushing and logging out the upper 2 miles of the trail. Then they will return to their vehicles and drive their vehicles as well as the vehicles from group 2 back to the Visitor Center. Group 1 will also brush and log out the campsite off the end of the first swithback going downhill 1.5 miles from Whigg Meadow Rd before continuing another half mile downhill to their turnaround spot (2 miles downhill from the top).
Group 2 will also go to the top of the Sycamore Creek section and hike down 2 miles to the middle section, then log and brush out this 2 mile section to the lower switchback or until they run into Group 3. They will hike out with Group 3 to the bottom and catch a ride with Group 3 to the Visitor Center. Their cars will be driven back to the Visitor Center by Group 1.
Group 3 will drive out River Rd to the BMT Tellico River crossing at Pheasant Fields Picnic Area. This group will drive enough vehicles to also take out Group 2 to the Visitor Center at the end of the day. Group 3 will work uphill to the 1st switchback or until they run into Group 2 who will be coming down from above. Then both Group 2 and 3 will hike back to Pheasant Fields Picnic Area. Group 1 will also log and brush out the 2 campsites along Sycamore Creek below the first switchback.
NEEDS: We will need at least three chainsaws, one or two with each group. Also, we will need as many brushcutters as we can get together. So, if you have a brushcutter at home, bring it along with at least one extra liter of fuel. Each section should have 4 brush cutters, if possible. Either string or metal blades will work. In fact, string brush cutters might work better than the metal blades. There is a lot of soft annual growth which comes out every year. That is a total of 12 brushcutters. Others can carry swingblades and loppers.
OTHER THINGS OF NOTE: Everyone should bring a day pack with 2 liters of water and a hearty lunch. Bring a water filter or sterilizing system to make extra water as well. Everyone should wear long pants and boots. There is lots of poison ivy on this stretch and there are plenty of rocks in the trail to trip you up. Each group should have at least one radio so we can keep in contact with each other.
POST-TRIP LIBATIONS: Afterwards, those who wish can all go to eat at Buckets & Brews. They have excellent food offerings and beer. Brenda and Rick just ate there a couple days ago and it was delicious.
August  August 16 (Friday) Hike:  Fort Mountain hiking medley – Stone Wall, Tower and Overlook Trail, and Lake Trail loop.
3 miles, easy to moderate. State parking pass or $5 parking fee.
Contact hike leader Larry Dumas at
  August 19 (Monday) Hike:  Amadahy Trail. DOG-FRIENDLY HIKE (adult humans may bring a leashed dog).
5 miles, easy to moderate along the shore of Carter’s Lake. Lunch at the marine campground.
Contact hike leader Ken Cissna at
September  September 9 (Monday) Hike:  Stanley Gap Trail from Deep Gap Parking on Aska Road to Fall Branch Falls.
5.5 miles, moderate. Short Shuttle.
Contact hike leader Evelin Yarns at
  September 16 (Monday) Hike:  BMT near Cherohala and Tellico Plains, TN; from Unicoi Overlook/Beech Gap parking (elevation 4,400’) to Whigg Meadow (elevation 4,940’).
5.8 miles, moderate difficulty. We will place a shuttle car@Mud Gap to shorten the return from Whigg Meadow.
Contact Hike Leader Tom Sewell at or text to 706-669-6406
  September 17 (Tuesday) Hike:  Tobacco Pouch to Wildcat Campground.
5.1 miles, primarily moderate with occasional strenuous stretches. About 3.5 hours. Hike starts downhill and includes one high-water stream crossing with ropes. The payoff is a beautiful waterfall and pretty terrain along Wildcat Creek. Good hiking/water shoes and poles recommended.
Contact hike leader Steve Dennison by text at 706-253-3938 or email at
  September 20 (Friday) Hike:  BMT trail, Highway 60 to/from Toccoa River, and back. DOG-FRIENDLY HIKE (adult humans may bring a leashed dog).
7.4 miles, moderate. Great hike over Toonowee Mt to the “Jewel of the BMT.” Lunch at the River
Contact hike leader Ken Cissna at or 813-310-6084

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