Saturday, April 07, 2012

2012 prescribed burns planned for Shenandoah National Park; reconstruction of some overlooks

If the proper conditions present themselves, the National Park Service is planning prescribed burns in Shenandoah National Park to reduce fuel on the ground and enhance yellow pine and oak communities that require fire to regenerate. Some trails may be closed during the burns.

At Jarman Gap northeast of Waynesboro, 500 acres will be burned over the course of several days in the areas between Sawmill Run Overlook and Jarman Gap.

Portions of Big Meadows, the open area across from Byrd Visitor Center, are burned each year. If it hasn't already taken place, approximately 35 acres will be burned this month in the eastern portion of the field for the purpose of maintaining the open vista by preventing encroachment by woody species.

As part of an ongoing project, the park will use fire to maintain open vistas by preventing encroachment by woody species at many scenic locations along Skyline Drive. Park staff plan to burn three to four vistas this year.

Overlook construction:
The Appalachian Trail will undergo some temporary relocations this season due to reconstruction of some overlooks along the Skyline Drive.

- Ivy Creek Overlook, at milepost 77.5, which the A.T. traverses, will be closed for construction from now until further notice. A planned temporary relocation of the A.T. around the overlook is in place approximately 30 yards north and south of the overlook, and follows a route on the west side of Skyline Drive marked by white blazed carsonite markers for approximately 100 yards.

- Horsehead Mountain and Rip Rap Overlooks are sometimes used to access the A.T. as well. Starting in late June or early July those overlooks will be reconstructed and parking will be unavailable for two to three months.

Dark Hollow Falls trail will be closed April 9-12 for reconstruction of the upper trail. See here for more information.

Spring 2012 openings are already underway in the Park. See here for opening information about campgrounds, lodges, and picnic areas.

Photo by Lynn R. Mitchell

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