By Lisa Palmer
We went to McAfee Knob seeking a view of the Catawba Valley. But, we found a richer understanding of a land with a 350 year history of human development. What are human impacts the environment along the AT? Recreation ecologist Dr. Jeffrey Marion, of the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center and adjunct professor at the Dept of Forestry at Virginia Tech, provided an outstanding lecture on how human use of backcountry affects the land. On McAfee Knob, our view extended 30 miles past Catawba Ridge. About 25 miles of the Appalachian Trail goes through Roanoke County.
Topics of conversation on the hike ranged from how AT through-hikers obtain their trailnames to Leave No Trace ethics and how to pick a campsite.
Take a look at the new initiatives of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. David Startzell explained that his group is looking at 13 vital signs, including air quality, forest health and wildlife diversity along the route's some 2100 miles.
Clem Henriksen, of Geographic Information System (GIS) provided a mini lesson in geo-data marking...take a look at the other SEJ Blog post.
Have you hiked any portion of the Appalachian Trail? Tell us about it.