The Deep South Trail Skills Training (TST) is a training event focused on teaching the most current Trail construction and maintenance methods applicable for Eastern landscapes. Courses are a mix of classroom instruction, field time, and social time; they are project-oriented and led by local maintaining clubs, the United States Forest Service, and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. Participation is allotted on a first come, first served basis; at no cost to the students. We only ask that you dutifully apply your new skills to helping keep the Appalachian Trail in great condition!
There will be four courses offered. Courses are limited to 12 people each.
Essential Trail Maintenance: This course is designed to be an overview of all aspects most important to maintaining eastern trail systems, with a special emphasis on improved modern methods of maintaining the Appalachian Trail. Main subjects include: standard safety protocols, corridor clearing, cleaning and retrofitting drainage structures, and tread realignment
Drainage Design and Drain Dips: An intermediate to advanced course that gives in-depth field instruction explaining the use, application, and modern design of two main drainage structures: waterbars and grade reversals. This course also discusses the appropriateness of structures such as culverts, French drains, cross drains and armored drainage control devices
Rock Staircase Construction: Focused on sound design of rock staircases, eastern rock setting, guide features, and how to retrofit aging structures. This is considered an advanced course, participants should have some prior experience working with rock
Crosscut Saw Training and Certification: This is the necessary course needed to operate a crosscut saw on Forest Service lands. Initial certification and recertification are both covered. This course will cover bucking, limbing, and axe use for the A and B level.
This year’s event will be held at Lake Winfield Scott Campground, on the Blue Ridge Ranger District, Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest. The event is held at no charge to participants; this includes campground space and any entrance fees.
Arrive Friday, October 26th between 5:00 PM - 9:00 PM to register and set-up camp. Please be aware that you will need to provide your own dinner on Friday evening.
Arrive between 7:30 AM - 8:30 AM before your first class to register and enjoy the company of others. Classes start promptly at 9:00 AM. It is important to ATC that we respect the quiet hours and the general public we will be sharing the campground with. To take advantage of ATC’s free, reserved campsites please arrive by 9:00 PM. If you are unable to arrive by 9:00 PM, please call ATC staff to make other arrangements.
The event will be held at Lake Winfield Scott Recreation Area, 439 Lake Winfield Scott Rd., Suches, GA 30572. The campground is equipped with potable water, hot showers, and flush restrooms. Signs will display directions to our campsites on the day of the event. As with any camp, please do not leave valuables in your tent during the day. Plan on storing your valuables in your vehicle, or leaving them at home.
The Appalachian Trail Conservancy will be providing grillables in the evening after classes on Saturday, October 27th. Gluten-Free and vegetarian options available upon request. All other meals are to be provided by participants. Please bring personal plates, bowls, and/or containers and utensils to use at each meal and to pack lunches. Plan to carry at least two liters of drinking water during each class. Please bring water bottles or a hydration pack to allow for this capacity.
Long pants and sturdy boots are required to conduct Trail work. Tennis shoes and/or light weight low top hiking shoes are not acceptable for work. Long sleeve shirts are recommended for sun and insect protection and in some areas are required for Trail work. Camping items such as a tent, sleeping bag, sleeping mat, and pillow are all required. Likewise, eating utensils, bowls, and containers are all required; as are personal toiletries. Other items to consider bringing are a camp chair, camera, and personal safety gear. If participants have their own hard hats, work gloves, and other PPE; they are encouraged to bring them.
Registration is open until October 12. For registration, further questions or information, please contact Benjamin Barry. Please review the document below for more information.