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The Clinch Coalition’s HIGH KNOB HERALD Issue 3 Fall 2010 Issue 3 Fall 2010 4th Annual High Knob Naturalist Rally…Come be inspired! Saturday, October 2nd Bark Camp Lake Recreational Area 10 AM – 4 PM AM Workshops 10-12 PM Workshops 2-4 Appalachian Ecology Hike High Knob Biology Hike Anna Hess Lois Boggs Nature & Scenic Photography Salamander & Snakes Bill Harris Justin Harris Edible/Medicinal Plants Geology of the High Knob Carol Judy Phil Shelton Climatology of High Knob Mushroom Identification Wayne Browning Johnny Stanley Geocaching Wetlands Hike Karen Davidson A free lunch is provided at noon with entertainment Chuck Lane by Strawberry Jam followed by a Horse Logging demo with Chad Miano! Children’s activities with Karen Hartsock offered all day long! Registration begins at 9:30 AM. All sessions and lunch are free of charge. A parking fee of $3 per vehicle is charged by the Forest Service. Explore High Knob’s Herpetofauna! Photographing By Justin Harris Nature The entire Appalachian mountain chain along the eastern United States is among By Bill Harris the most diverse places on the planet for finding reptiles and amphibians, or her- petofauna. Salamanders can be found in abundance in these high elevations, Each year, The Clinch Coali- and the High Knob area is no exception. Some of our salamanders are not found tion’s Naturalist Rally provides a anywhere else in the world! Rising to 4,223 feet above sea level, the High Knob variety of opportunities for atten- peak is also home to a variety of snake and frog species. dees to explore the wonders of their National Forest. Among The Clinch Coalition has hosted several snake and last year’s successes was a salamander hikes around Bark Camp Lake to ex- Nature and Scenic Photography plore some of the local herpetofauna. During the workshop which provided an past two hikes, we’ve found nine species of sala- introduction to the techniques manders and several species of snakes, including and equipment needed to cap- a rare spotting of the Alleghany Mountain Dusky ture the beauty of the natural world surrounding us. Partici- Salamander. pants learned about cameras, lenses, tripods and other These species of herpetofauna are great indicators equipment, and the basics of proper exposure as well as the that this ecosystem is healthy enough to sustain elements of good composition. After a short workshop, the sensitive organisms such as amphibians and rep- group took a stroll around the lake and practiced photo- tiles. This should provide an even greater incen- graphing the landscape and some of the area’s unique flora tive to preserve the High Knob area so that its and fauna, such as the mushroom photo above. diversity will continue in the future. We are happy to announce that Nature and Scenic Photog- I’d like to invite you to join us at this year’s naturalist rally, and be sure to bring raphy will be offered again at this year’s Rally. No experi- your kids because educating the next generation is conservation today! ence is necessary, just bring your digital camera and join in! Page 2 The Clinch Coalition Preserving... TCC MEMBERS & VOLUNTEERS PUT IN 300 HOURS ON TRAILS Following the devastating winter storms of 2009 which closed hiking trails on the Clinch Ranger District of the Jefferson National Forest, The Clinch Coali- tion reached out to the Forest Service and offered to organize workdays to help clear the hardest hit areas. TCC members and volunteers put in over 300 hours clearing fallen trees and repairing damaged trails so they would be in good shape for spring hiking season. As a result, the Forest Service has recommended TCC for a Regional Foresters Award for Volunteer Groups! Interested in hiking trails in the area? Visit www.clinchcoalition.net; in the “High Knob in Focus” section you’ll find our “Plan Your Visit” tool to locate trails and camping information. The Clinch Coalition organizes various trail workdays throughout the spring, summer and fall months. If you are interested in helping out, check postings on our website at www.clinchcoalition.net or call us at 276-479-2176. Mountain Empire Community College Americorp, VISTA, and TCC members spend a day working on the trail at Roaring Branch. JOEL BRANCH DISCOVERY In January of this year, several members of The Clinch Coalition made a site visit to the Joel Branch timber sale, now called the Batman Ground timber sale. What they found was the logging operator working, in spite of very wet conditions, and creating unacceptable rutting in the work area. TCC members were joined by Forest Service employees Tyler Williamson and Greg Powers who surveyed the situation and formally suspended all Damage created by logging in unsuitably wet conditions on the Joel Branch Timber Sale (now called the Batman Ground Timber Sale). operations until such time as the weather conditions would permit operations. Following the incident, District Ranger Jorge Hersel as- SAVING OUR HEMLOCKS sured Coalition members the Forest Service will, "… document soil erosion control work and take photos to Hemlock trees infested with the woolly adelgid located on ensure the operator is in compliance with directions he the property of a homeplace in Patrick County which were has received." treated with the chemical Safari in the Spring of 2009, are Hersel further commented, "We have timber sale con- now rebounding and looking healthy. About five years ear- tracts with some strict clauses in order that the operator lier, a predator beetle was introduced on the same trees performs operations in a manner that has the least im- with little results. pact on the resources. In this case, this was the opera- The homeowners, Gerry and Joe Scardo, attended a tor’s first timber sale on National Forests and we have “Save Our Hemlocks” workshop sponsored by The Clinch tried to educate him on why we insist on certain condi- Coalition and Wild South and applied the knowledge they tions of operations," explained District Ranger Hersel. gained to getting rid of the adelgid. “Mostly, I just want to “I am glad to see that in this case we were able to stop report that all the trees we treated, including our the operator before he did too much soil disturbance, neighbors, are in very noticeable recovery mode. If we and he is willing to do the work needed to prevent future hadn’t treated, we would have been looking at tree re- erosion." He also added, "We will be keeping a closer moval at this point,” states Gerry. watch on this sale in the future." “The training provided by The Clinch Coalition at Natural The Clinch Coalition organizes regular “citizen monitor- Tunnel State Park helped us understand what might work ing” visits to local logging sites in the Jefferson National and gave us hands-on practice,” she added. “Basically, Forest as part of our Public Lands Oversight Campaign. TCC helped save our hemlocks!” If you are interested in joining us for a visit, please con- To learn more about the hemlock woolly adelgid, go to tact Steve at email@example.com TCC’s website at www.clinchcoalition.net Protecting… High Knob Herald, Fall 2010 Page 3 SAVING THE SCENIC GUEST RIVER by Josh Larson The Guest River Gorge is one of the most scenic areas in Virginia. But recreational use is questionable because the levels of pollution are so high. With time and effort this river with its scenic value, could improve tourism and generate tourism dollars for this area. The Guest River Restoration Project with the help of the Lonesome Pine Soil and Water Conservation District submitted a $247,000 proposal to the block grant program. The proposal is centered around improving wastewater disposal on Tom’s Creek, Little Tom’s Creek, and Crab Orchard Creek. These three creeks and below their confluences are the only remaining sections of the Guest River that continue to be impaired by high levels of bacteria. Josh Larson, VISTA for the Lonesome Pine Soil and Water Conservation District, commented, “The potential is here for tourism development if we can resolve the pollution problem. This grant will help in accomplishing this goal in addition to improving the health and well being of the residents along the river.” Josh went on to say, “Community support has been important in completing this proposal and will be essential to managing this project.” In response to his request, The Clinch Coalition has offered their support and the assistance of new TCC VISTA, Chris Clark. Chris will aid the Guest River Project with education and community meetings. Josh added, “We are very excited to have a potential opportunity to work with The Clinch Coalition at improving our community and our natural resources.” The Guest River is a tributary of The Clinch River. The Clinch River contains some of the world’s most valuable and rare species of freshwater mussels and fish—29 rare mussels and 19 rare freshwa- ter fish. The Clinch Coalition is working to attain National Recreation River designation for The Guest River. Photo, Left: Straight pipe removal on the Guest River. The Guest River Project has removed over 100 straight pipes since 1998 leading to improvements on 21 miles of the Guest River. SAVE OUR STREAMS WATER MONITORING REINTRODUCING Some might ask: Why do several Clinch Coali- tion members and commu- THE CHESTNUT TREE nity volunteers wade into local waterways four times a year to dig up river rocks In the early spring of this year, Clinch Coalition and see what is living un- members Diana Withen and Carmen Cantrell along derneath? Many of our with community member Phil Shelton, had an op- stream monitors would portunity to assist our local Forest Service biologist simply say “Because it’s in locating and marking chestnut tree saplings on fun!” But the real reason is the Clinch Ranger District of the Jefferson National we all recognize the impor- Forest. These saplings are the survivors of seeds tance of maintaining clean planted two years ago. Students counting “stream bugs” water. Chestnuts were the predominant hardwood species Our mountains contain the headwaters for the Tennessee River in the Appalachian Mountains of Virginia before and provide drinking water not only for our communities, but also blight killed them a half century ago. In 2008, thirty- for thousands of people downstream. There are many human ac- six seeds of an experimental blight-resistant chest- tivities that impair the quality of our watersheds, including littering, nut were planted in a timber sale area on High logging, strip mining, residential and industrial run off and improper Knob as part of a project to improve wildlife habitat. sewage disposal. For the last four years, The Clinch Coalition has Coalition member Carmen Cantrell, stated “We been using Virginia Save Our Stream (SOS) protocols to col- found seventeen saplings alive and doing well.” lect and count bugs (or macroinvertabrates) which are long term She added, “Reintroduction of the chestnut prom- indicators reflecting the health of a creek or river. We currently ises to improve habitat for wildlife; but in the long have nine stream monitoring teams working in the Clinch River Wa- tershed, and are hoping to expand our program over the coming term, the forest heritage of future generations will year. If you are interested in becoming a monitor for a stream near be enhanced.” you, please contact Chris at: firstname.lastname@example.org Page 4 The Clinch Coalition Promoting... CLINCH COALITION HOSTS SECOND FILM FESTIVAL This past April, The Clinch Coalition teamed up with Friends of the Russell Fork, McClure River Restoration Project and the UVA-Wise Environmental Club to host a Wild and Scenic Environmental Film Festival as part of the college's Earth Week festivities. Themed "Clean Water for Southwest Virginia," the event was held in the new science building auditorium and included a reception with free refresh- ments, plenty of children's activities, and a silent auction of items donated by local businesses. Winners of The Clinch Coalition's Earth Art/Essay Contest were recognized during the program. Six short films were shown including: Secret Life of Paper, Everyday at School, Planting Hope, Split Estate and Watershed Revolution. The feature film, Tapped, looked at the bottled water industry and how it affects the envi- ronment and human health. Paul Kuczko was the evening’s emcee. The event was made possible partially through a grant from Patagonia. The Clinch Coalition would also like to thank the following businesses for their support: The Tavern on Main, Highland Ski & Outdoor Center, Mountain Above: Attendees register for the film festival Sports, LTD, The Whole Health Center, Inc., The Harvest Table, Lonesome Pine Office on Youth, Tales of the Lonesome Pine Used Bookstore, Mountain Rose Vineyards, The Clap- board House, Lawson Water Conditioning; individual contributors, Barbara Kingsolver, Kirsty Zahnke, and Carolyn Cox; and corporate sponsors Clif Bar, Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, Osprey, and Tom’s of Maine. The Clinch Coalition is currently in the planning stages for the 2011 film festival. If you would like to be involved please contact Chris at email@example.com STUDENTS LEARN ABOUT HEALTHY WATERSHEDS Winners of The Clinch Coalition's Earth Art/Essay Contest were hon- ored during the Wild & Scenic Film Festival at UVA-Wise on April 23, 2010. This year's theme was "Clean Water, Healthy People," to coin- cide with the film festival's program. Currently in its fifth year, the con- test was the idea of Coalition member Teresa Guice-Gillenwater. "We wanted something that would get families involved," Teresa com- mented. "If the children participate, usually the parents aren't too far behind!” Above: Students from Duffield Primary School Students from Wise, Scott and Dickenson Counties and the City of Norton took part in the contest. The Clinch Coalition awarded over six-hundred dollars in cash prizes to con- test winners and Karen Seaver's fourth grade science class at Duffield Primary School won a class pizza party for having the most entries in both the art and essay contest. The Clinch Coalition also gave out sixty- four trees to Ms. Seaver’s students to be planted on Arbor Day. Winners in the art category were: Grades 1-4 (Hannah Sturgill, Taylor Hill and Toni Finch); Grades 5-8 (Chloe Lane, Bailey Stidham, Austin Winebarger, and Aimilee Bright); Grades 9-12 (Heather Gilley, Lori Mul- lins and Kendra Chandler) Winners of the essay contest were: Grades 1-4 (Caleb Dillon and Mathew Moozel); Grades 5-8 (T.J. Luehrs, Kaylee Payne and Naomi McCoy); Grades 9-12 (Zahra Ehtesham) The Clinch Coalition’s next Earth Art/Essay Contest will be held in April, 2011. For more information, contact Diana at firstname.lastname@example.org Promoting… High Knob Herald, Fall 2010 Page 5 Let’s take a walk… HIKING WITH THE TCC As an organization, The Clinch Coalition believes in working and having fun to- gether. After a hard day of trail rebuilding, water testing, or event hosting, we always find time for the hikes that are so much a part of who we are. And the public is al- ways invited! This year we saw The Glades on High Knob with Chuck Lane (left bottom photo); took a walk amongst the wildflowers at The Pinnacle with Richard Kretz (left top photo); and looked for salamanders at Bark Camp Lake with Justin Harris (right top photo). To find out more about TCC’s fun hikes, check the events page of our website or receive electronic reminders by sending an email to clinchcoali- email@example.com and ask to be added to our listserv. Fungus Among Us! By Richard Kretz Clinch Mt. Gets First Trail It's fungus time! Between June and October, fungi (often re- ferred to as mushrooms) are fruiting everywhere. Especially after a rain, they seemingly spontaneously sprout in our yards, parks, golf courses, and throughout the forest. But what are "fungi?" Fungi are organisms classified as a kingdom separate from plants, animals, and bacteria. All mushrooms are fungi, not all fungi are classified as mushrooms. Fungi are an integral part of our lives. We use it as yeast in bread and beer, in pesticides, and a broad gambit of pharma- Running about 150 miles from Grainger County in ceuticals. More importantly, did you know that 90% of the Tennessee to Tazewell County, VA, the Clinch living stuff called biomass in a forest floor is fungal? And Mountain is a monumental feature of the Appala- trees depend upon the thousands of miles of fungal threads chian landscape. The first public hiking trail on associated with their roots for healthy growth and survival. Clinch Mountain will open this wild area—rich with significant ecological communities and geological The study of fungi is called "Mycology." Traditionally, mycol- features—to scientific research and education as ogy is considered a branch of botany even though fungi are well as recreation. more closely related to animals than plants. Scientists believe Trail Coordinator Claude Gable states “As of Sep- there are more than a million species of fungi in the world. tember 4th, about one and a half miles of the nine To properly identify a mushroom, you need to consider not mile trail has taken shape. A pleasant hike is now just color, but the cap, gill, structure, stalk, root, what it’s fruit- open from the parking lot at Low Gap to the top of ing on, and sometimes even take a spore print. the ridge, where the trail allows the first glimpse of Pertaining to eating wild mushrooms: As a general rule, it's the view into five states. From there it follows an existing trail for a short distance before striking off best not to eat or even taste wild mushrooms unless you are on its own again for another two hundred yards. accompanied by a trained expert. One mistake can be fatal, Set aside an hour or two to try it out!” so leave wild 'shrum eating to the dogs, varmints, and other uncelebrated critters! (See full story & photos on TCC website, For volunteer opportunities on the trail send an and be sure to join us for a “Mushroom Identification” workshop at email to: firstname.lastname@example.org this year’s Naturalist Rally!) Page 6 “Let High Knob Stand” The Clinch Coalition High Knob Tower Update TCC HELPS RELEASE 37,000 TROUT! By Chris Clark Clinch Coalition mem- bers and volunteers as- A new tower on High Knob came one step closer to sisted the Little Stony reality at a recent meeting of the High Knob Enhance- Creek Chapter of Trout ment Corporation (HKEC). Board Members voted on Unlimited with the re- some key elements of the final design. The proposed lease of 37,000 trout tower will be an 8-sided structure, approximately 17 during the month of May. feet in diameter. Although some elements of the de- TU Chapter president, sign are still in question, it has been decided that the Mark Leonard remarked, new tower will be roofed and completely accessible to "I want to thank the people with disabilities by a ramp and a gradually Clinch Coalition for their rising pathway around High Knob’s peak. The core of help. We couldn't have the structure will be concrete but a façade of stone- done it without them." work will give the new tower a high degree of aes- thetic appeal. In addition, the use of stone, concrete, The trout release was part of Trout in the Classroom (TIC), a and other non-flammable materials will prevent a re- national environmental education program which teaches stu- peat of Halloween 2007, when the second tower, dents about water quality, stream ecology, conservation ethics, which had stood since the 1970’s was destroyed by and biology. Diana Withen, president of The Clinch Coalition, arson. and her Coeburn High School biology class (pictured above) participated in the program, Other participating schools were This meeting represented an important step forward in St. Paul, Castlewood, and Clintwood. a process that was started “almost as soon as the flames were quenched.” According to District Ranger Diana commented, “Mark has been amazing in getting Trout in Jorge Hersel a final design of the tower will be re- the Classroom started in our area.” She added, “He has really leased next month, and construction is slated to begin been great to work with. The kids love it!” The trout from within the year. Although some financial hurdles re- Diana’s class were successfully returned to the wild in Little main, HKEC board member and Clinch Coalition Di- Stony Creek. Groups signed on to participate this year include rector Steve Brooks reported positive news: JW Adams Combined (Pound), Thomas Walker High, and We- ”Congressman Boucher has announced that he be- ber City Elementary. lieves he has found the remaining funding needed to Teachers wanting to learn more about the Trout in the Class- reach our goal.” If successful, this could move the room program, should visit their website at construction timetable ahead by months. www.troutintheclassroom.org. If you would like to learn more about the project or get To find out more about our local chapter of Trout Unlimited, visit involved, visit the HKEC website at www.highknob.net www.littlestonycreektu.com. RAIN BARREL WORKSHOP DRAWS A CROWD A recent workshop in Norton attracted twenty-two participants who spent an evening learning about composting methods and using power tools to craft rain barrels. The workshop was a joint effort between the Upper Tennessee River Roundtable, the Guest River Restoration Project, The Clinch Coalition, Pepsi Cola Bottling Company of Norton, and the City of Norton Parks and Recreation Department. Funding came from a grant from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality. Rain barrels are used to collect and hold rainwater from rooftops, which can be used for watering lawns and gardens. Water collected in rain barrels is kept from flowing over paved surfaces, picking up pollutants, entering a storm drain, and eventually discharging into local waterways. "I'm so pleased with the success of this work- shop," stated Carol Doss, director of the Upper Tennessee River Roundta- Attendees assembling rain barrels at our ble. "People continue to express interest and enthusiasm in making rain barrels to conserve and to re-use water and this workshop was no exception." The Roundtable has received grant funding to install a rain garden as part of the outdoor classroom at Clear Creek with work scheduled to begin in October. The Guest River Restoration Project, The Clinch Coalition and the City of Norton are all working with the Roundtable to turn this goal into a reality. "These partners also cooperate on a stream monitoring project, too," according to Carol. "It's much better to work together through partnerships than to try and tackle a project alone." Future rain barrel workshops will be announced on The Clinch Coalition’s website. Want to make your own? Visit: www.gaithersburgmd.gov/Documents/environment/rainbarrel_handouts.pdf High Knob Herald, Fall 2010 Page 7 A Message From The Clinch Coalition’s New VISTA...Chris Clark! Dear Friends, Members, and Supporters, I’m happy to be joining The Clinch Coalition as your new VISTA! I am very excited for the opportunity to be part of an organization with such passion for and dedication to protecting our public lands, water- sheds and communities. I would like to thank everyone I’ve met so far for your warmth and hospitality in welcoming me to southwest Virginia. I have been active in environmental issues since I was a high school student in my hometown of Salem, Oregon. During that time, I became active in the school’s environmental club and science team and volunteered with several local non-profits, including a local watershed council. I attended Portland State University, earning my degree in International Studies in 2007. After college I joined the Peace Corps and volunteered in Niger, West Africa for two years as an Agro-Forestry Extension Agent. My time in Niger was one of the most challenging and rewarding times of my life. Working with people who depend on their environment for their daily survival taught me how important it is for communi- ties to be involved in protecting and preserving their natural heritage. While I was abroad, I also realized that I still hadn’t seen very much of my own country. When I came across the Appala- chian Coal Country Watershed Teams (ACCWT) program, I realized this was a way to continue working on environ- mental issues and have the opportunity to see a part of the United States I’ve always been fascinated with. ACCWT matched me with the Clinch Coalition, and after my first phone conversation with the staff and board members, I knew that this was an organization full of people that share my passion for environmental justice. The Jefferson National For- est and surrounding areas are among the most beautiful places I have ever been, and I am truly thankful for the opportu- nity to live and work here. Over the coming year, I will be working to strengthen The Clinch Coalition’s Stream Monitoring, Public Lands, and other programs and helping to organize annual events such as the High Knob Naturalist Rally and Environmental Film Festival that make The Clinch Coalition such an important part of this community. I am looking forward to getting to know the area and all of you over the next year! Sincerely, Christopher Clark VOLUNTEER HIGHLIGHT: Detta Davis and Eulane Hamm This year we are honoring two of our original members who have served The Clinch Coalition faithfully since 1998. Both Detta Davis and Eulane Hamm responded when the call went out to stop clearcut timbering on High Knob. Through the years, both have served as outstanding officers: Detta as president of The Clinch Coalition for eight years and Eulane as treasurer for twelve years. Detta’s environmental activism did not begin with The Clinch Coalition. She has been involved in speak- ing out against various forms of pollution for many years. In the mid-90s, she traveled to Richmond to let legislators know that dumping toxic fly-ash onto abandoned strip mines was not an acceptable prac- tice. Detta is also an artist and writer! She has designed and overseen the production of murals in com- munity buildings throughout the area, as well as supervising and encouraging children in local schools to follow her example in creating and painting murals. She recently completed a book, Growing Up On The Clinch River, about her youthful experiences. Detta Davis When Eulane heard about the Forest Service’s plans to cut 1,400 acres of timber as part of the Bark Camp Timber Sale, she stated simply, “Just leave it alone,” providing the inspiration for what would later become The Clinch Coalition’s rallying cry, “Let High Knob Stand!” Eulane worked as a nurses aid for many years at a local hospital in Norton, belonged to the Lions Club and is a member of the Rebekahs, the women’s Independent Order of Odd Fellows. Both Detta and Eulane were born and grew up during the Great Depression. They were raised at the foot of High Knob; Detta just outside of Dungannon, and Eulane in Tacoma where she has lived all of her life. Both women gained a respect and love of the mountain from their childhood. Their families en- joyed outings upon the High Knob that was the focal point of recreation when they were growing up. When asked how she came up with the inspiration for The Clinch Coalition's slogan, Eulane simply states, "It (High Knob) has always been there--so let's just leave it alone. Let it stand for past, present, and future generations!" Eulane Hamm The Clinch Coalition 1097 Old Quarry Drive Nickelsville, VA 24271 Get in touch with us… www.clinchcoalition.net email@example.com or Call us at (276)479-2176 Clinch Coalition meetings are held on the 2nd Tuesday of each month at 6:30 p.m. To: Tacoma Community Center Tacoma, Virginia All are welcome! WHO ARE WE? Preserving...Promoting...Protecting Our mission: “To protect and preserve the forest, wildlife, and watersheds in our local National Forest and surrounding communities for present and future generations.” Board Members: Board Members: Board Members: Diana Withen (President) Robert Gillenwater Carolyn Cox Carmen Cantrell (Vice-President) Teresa Guice-Gillenwater Staff Members: Angie Atwood (Treasurer) Mary Ellen Kelley Steve Brooks Bill Harris (Secretary) Ben Prater Chris Clark, VISTA Paul Moceri Gerry Scardo Honorary Board Members: Jody Moceri Joe Scardo Eulane Hamm Detta Davis Janet Lane Otis & Nancy Ward Hannah Morgan Caitlin Cantrell Dick Austin Connie Weaver Frank Taylor JR Moore Thank you! Our work is made possible through the financial support of the many individuals who make up our mem- bership and funding from the following organizations: Appalachian Community Fund, Patagonia, Harris & Francis Block Grant Foundation, and the Catholic Campaign for Human Development.
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