Early Spring Weather, Appalachian Trail, Helton Creek Falls

We’ve had a few warm days lately, starting around 60 and rising to a little over 70 on the deck. The forecast was for rain this weekend, but while it rained a little Thursday night, it hasn’t rained since. At our location – about two miles southeast of Mineral Bluff, about 1956 feet – our neighbors have daffodils and forsythia in bloom, along with a few alien ornamentals. I’ve been told that the redbuds are starting to bloom along Big Creek Road, so real spring can’t be far away. If you haven’t been up lately, you need to make plans to come. It’s all about to happen ….

There is an interesting article on the Forest Service’s Facebook page about efforts to prevent damage to the Appalachian Trail at Hawk Mountain, a popular first stop along the trail, heading north from Springer Mountain. It’s┬áthe season when the “thru hiker” hopefuls set off on the trail in the hopes of reaching Mount Katahdin in Maine. These folks rarely seem to take time to stop and smell the roses or listen to the waterfalls in their rush toward Maine, and in recent years many have been ultra marathoners for whom the destination is ┬ádefinitely more important than the journey. But I’m for whatever gets people out there on the trail. There are some real concerns about environmental degradation along the trail, and the Hawk Mountain area is especially hard hit because of its location. (In a way, these concerns are nothing new. When I was a boy in Pennsylvania, there were many sections of the trail that you could drive along in a passenger car.) The posting on the link describes an effort to improve the shelters at Hawk Mountain in the hopes of limiting the number of user made campsites.

https://www.facebook.com/US-Forest-Service-Chattahoochee-Oconee-National-Forest-979311055442020/

Speaking of the Forest Service, there’s a fascinating column in Blairsville’s North Georgia News by Union County’s sole commissioner Lamar Paris, explaining why Union County is helping the Forest Service improve the access to Helton Creek Falls. (That’s just a short distance downhill on the Blairsville side of Blood Mountain, directly off Hwy 129.) It’s remarkable in two ways. First, in the clarity that Mr. Paris brings to the discussion. Second, that he’s saying these things just twenty miles away from the Fannin County Courthouse, where this sort of thinking never seems to penetrate.

Here’s the first page of his first column on the subject:

http://www.nganews.com/pdf/ngn02-24-16OpEd1.pdf

And the second page:

http://www.nganews.com/pdf/ngn02-24-16OpEd2.pdf

And the first page of the follow up column:

http://www.nganews.com/pdf/ngn03-09-16OpEd1.pdf

And the second page:

http://www.nganews.com/pdf/ngn03-09-16OpEd2.pdf

Kudos to Mr. Paris for “getting it.” A lot of other people don’t.

 

 

 

 

 

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