Ranging ... Virginia's Bland County Alternative for Visitors and Citizens
A Bland County Gateway to the Appalachian Trail and to a modern trails system is a positive, imaginative proposal. Timely, relatively risk-free steps need to be taken to achieve that structure and recognition.
The Gateway is a means for the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (the ATC) to achieve its ever-broadening objectives of:
The Gateway is a special means for the Bland Community to achieve an important diversity of well-recognized upper-level objectives:
A trail system Gateway would reasonably have the often-related components of:
|How do you get to trails from here?|
New developments are needed for parking, pickup and delivery, communication, first aid service. Advertising of likely support foods, equipment, services, guides, etc. is needed. Work is needed, both in planning and in contacting land owners to build and allow for-fee uses of connector trails and others. Hiker campgrounds and over-night rooming facilities (e.g., Dogwood Inns) can be developed. Information on the Internet is needed for connections to other recreational resources (e.g., river, lake) made part of a multi-day hiking experience in this patch of the AT and related trails of the local system.
The County Gateway can become a model for others in (1) fully achieving the activities suggested above, and (2) developing these as subsystems that can be exported cost- and time-effectively to other places and groups studying becoming an effective trails system Gateway.
The Gateway is a low cost, low intensity activity. It needs signs, advertising, a "presence." People in the county need to know about it and spread knowledge of its existence by their communications. Advertising, signs, brochures, and other media and needed. Funds are needed. Grants cannot sustain the action. The Gateway must be planned to be "sustainable" and it must, thereafter, be sustained. I do not know how to get started but I have a few ideas. I am eager to hear suggestions and will share them.
Unifying the The Rich Patch Hikers proposal , the Tread Trail Group proposal with the concepts in this gateway document and the Bland Initiative suggests a useful concept for Bland County to implement or voice approval, for ATC to study and provide direction and encouragement, or for other means for County citizens to achieve benefits from a modern trails system in Bland County. There are several gateways possible to this important resource in Virginia, Southwestern Virginia, the US Forest Service, and Bland County.
Robert H. Giles, Jr., Ph.D.,Professor Emeritus
formerly of the
College of Natural Resources,Virginia Tech
504 Rose Avenue
Revised August 20, 2006
Perhaps you will share ideas with
about some of the topic(s) above.
Maybe we can work together