Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Hiking the A.T. through Shenandoah National Park's Fire Zone - May 2, 2016

A forest fire in the Southern District of Shenandoah National Park, which started near the Rocky Mount Trail and was suspected to be man made, eventually grew to become the second largest fire in park history, closing the Skyline Drive and Appalachian Trail for several days. Blue blazed trails took longer, but were all reopened as of 5 PM on Tuesday, May 3rd.

I helped the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club to assess the condition of the Appalachian Trail through the burn areas, and consequently hiked between Simmons Gap and Powell Gap on the AT on Sunday, May 1, and between Simmons Gap and the Doyles River Parking Lot on Monday, May 2, 2016. Here are some photos I took on my journeys.

I look forward to returning to this area over coming years to see the regrowth!  Fire is a natural part of the forest ecosystem, and much of this area had not seen fire in 85 years.  I think it will produce some exciting changes to this part of the park.

Most of these photos were taken on the A.T. just north of the Ivy Creek Overlook on the Skyline Drive, MP 77.5, just north of the Loft Mountain Campground.  It is a very easy walk north from the overlook.

The log book at the Pinefield Hut, just north on the A.T. of most of the burn zone,
shows a gap in visitors during the time when this part of the park was closed to visitors.
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