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Presidential Ponderings

Jay DOctober 2020

As summer starts to wind down it is hard to imagine that it is six months that we have been dealing with the Coronavirus.  With promises of a vaccine on the horizon maybe we can have hope of getting together soon.  I have missed our Third Saturday Work trips and will miss getting together at the annual meeting in a few weeks.  Our periodic Town Hall virtual meetings at least allows us to see each other, though it’s not the same.

Public lands have seen a rise in visitors and I expect this trend will continue into the fall. The Trail Ambassadors are getting ready for fall patrols, with social distancing and masks.  The Education Committee of PATHE is making plans for a busy thru-hiker season next spring.  While each year we see an increase of traffic through Basecamp, next spring could see exponentially greater numbers.  Of course, things could also be cancelled on a moment’s notice.

ATC Federal Policy Advocacy Issues

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) would like to coordinate with the A.T. Maintaining Clubs on federal policy advocacy issues and has submitted a list of policy objectives. These will be discussed at the 2020 Regional Partnership Committee meetings.

Ensuring proper public lands management and maintenance;

  • Addressing Climate Change
  • Improving the Cooperative Management System (CMS)
  • Attending to Public Lands Maintenance
  • Supporting Native Wildlife, Combating Invasive Species

Preserving the A.T. Landscape;

  • Protecting State Management Authority
  • Supporting A.T. Landscape LWCF Acquisitions
  • Promoting Private Conservation

Facilitating volunteerism and civic engagement;

  • Facilitating the Development of New Stewards
  • Enabling the Continued Competence of Stewards
  • Defending Public Input

Promoting rural economic development with an anchor in outdoor recreation

  • Preventing Inconsistent Energy Development
  • Increasing Access to the Trail
  • Providing for New Kinds of Appropriate Use
  • Supporting Gateway Communities

Spaceport Camden

Spaceport Camden is a proposed rocket launching facility to be located in eastern Camden County, Georgia.  This location is very close to Cumberland Island National Seashore, Little Cumberland Island and Jekyll Island.  It also presents a major threat to the ecology of the area.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will issue a revised Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on January 8, 2021, followed by a 45 day public comment period.  The final EIS should be issued by September 2021.

There was an EIS issued in March 2018 which has led to further study and clarification as they relate to certain environmental impacts.  This did not completely address the impacts that catastrophic events and launch disasters may have on the ecological integrity of nearby ecosystems, including Cumberland Island National Seashore and Wilderness area.

Meetings

If you have not already registered for the club’s annual meeting Saturday October 3 at 10:00am please do so.  It is important for all club members to plug into what’s going on in the club and with our partners.  Trail worker awards and T-shirts will be announced.  This year the criteria for shirts has been adjusted to compensate for the time the forest was closed.  Of particular importance, the nominating committee will present the slate for next year’s board, along with the election.

As always I encourage any member who wants to attend a board meeting to let me know.  We need more members to engage with club activities and this is an excellent opportunity.  For the foreseeable future these meeting will be held virtually.

Please continue to stay safe and healthy, someday we will look back on this as a memory.

 

Jay