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  1. #1
    mountain squid's Avatar
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    Default Overmountain Shelter update

    As many are aware, The Barn aka Overmountain Shelter has been closed for several years. It has been determined to be unsafe for occupancy. Basically, due to freeze/thaw cycles at this elevation, it is leaning. TN Eastman Hiking & Canoeing Club (TEHCC) has been maintaining the structure for years but it is now beyond our ability to maintain.

    Currently there is a proposal to tear the shelter down. Beginning on Monday, 23 January, there will be an open public comment period for 20 days. On Wednesday, 25 January at 7:00pm, a virtual meeting will be held for further discussions.

    The site itself is still open to camping and is one of the premier sites on the AT offering outstanding views. A picnic pavilion is being proposed to replace the shelter.

    A video with more info about the shelter conditions and links to the meeting and public comments section can be found here: https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/nfsnc...=FSEPRD1085167.

    See you on the trail,
    mt squid

  2. #2
    Registered User ScottTrip's Avatar
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    Default

    I hate to see this but if it is unsafe, I understand. In 2014 it was the perfect shelter at the perfect time when in pouring rain I was able to secure a spot and get warm, dry, and cook dinner.

  3. #3

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    Sentiment aside, given the general robustness and utility of the shelter system, and use thereof, a shelter should be there.

    With sentiment, it is probably one of the most loved shelters on the trail, lots of pics of it here.

    Should be taken apart and reconstructed using as much original material as possible. Of course with modern techniques, but similar to previous. Kind of an icon.

  4. #4
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    The challenge is: How to pay for all that?

  5. #5
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    It was also perfect for me in 2018 but that thing is in rough shape and there are no reusable original materials there, that's for sure. What are you going to save? Look at the posts. 2x6 floor joists holding up dozens of hikers, all the material there is getting weathered and weak. The footings aren't even good, I can't imagine what the frost line is up there to be able to build a safe structure like this. It's 42 inches in CT - your probably looking at 6-8 foot deep footings up there at 4,500', or pinned to solid ledge if you can't get deep enough. Definitely no saving this one and I see why a tent site is a much more realistic future for it, unfortunate as it may be.
    NoDoz
    nobo 2018 March 10th - October 19th
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    I'm just one too many mornings and 1,000 miles behind

  6. #6
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    It appears the decision to remove it has already been made and the public opinion process is to let people vent and reminisce.

    The ATC guy's reasons are a joke. There is no way the Stan Murray shelter can be a replacement for the sheer number of hikers that stayed in Overmountain Shelter. The Stan Murray shelter is old and small.

    He also says that ATC standards call for shelters not to be located within two miles of open roads. There are a ton of shelters located within two miles of an open road including Springer Mountain shelter and the Birches in Baxter State Park and all points in between.

  7. #7

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    Its been awhile (15 years) since I visited the shelter. If I remember correctly, there is or was a road (or at least an old right of way) that could access the site. If that is so the logistics of replacement is lot simpler that having to fly in materials. My guess is it would just take the right fundraising campaign to get enough money to get a shelter built. Throw in naming rights if need be as it is quite the location. As for the structure it really was not that suitable as a shelter, way to open to the elements. PATC has some good designs, build a shelter in one location well up off the ground, the keep varmits from moving in underneath and discourage trash being stuffed underneath and build a adjacent covered cooking pavilion.

    My guess is with access a crawler loader would be able to dig footing, elevation really does not impact depth, my guess is 4 feet at the most.

  8. #8
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    no not elevation just cold and I was thinking of extreme cold in the mountains but it is down south and probably not that much colder up there... but with the price of materials today you can't built a dog house for the money you could build a shelter with 5 years ago. I agree on those reasons being a joke and thought of many shelters close to roads.
    NoDoz
    nobo 2018 March 10th - October 19th
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    I'm just one too many mornings and 1,000 miles behind

  9. #9

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    I could see them not wanting to build new party shelters, but clearly there are new shelters near roads for instance Springer Mtn. But there the nature of the road doesn’t lend itself to partying. Looking at Google Maps the little road that gets close to Overmountain seems similar, too much work and planning to lend itself to partying. Or homelessness takeover. And I sure can’t see the logic of instead putting in a picnic pavilion. Not cheap either and just as attractive to the party crowd.

  10. #10

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    I fully respect the sincerity of the folks in the video and the whole trail support network who have to juggle a whole host of competing interests and priorities. There’s a reason why they open things to public comment, they recognize the need to hear from users. Yeah, and I’m sure the law requires or encourages it.

    Clearly they are someways into their planning, so everyone who thinks there should be a shelter there should chime in tomorrow when public comments are opened.

  11. #11
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    I didn't realize they were talking about building a pavilion over the shelter, that one slipped by me. I was thinking they were just making tent sites. A pavilion will need the same or more footings and very well could be more then building a shelter (maybe cheaper then another barn). If your going to build something there the pavilion is a terrible idea. You mean an open pavilion with no protection from wind or driving rain and snow? Not much better then tent sites in the open. How many pavilions are there at camp/shelter sites along the AT?
    NoDoz
    nobo 2018 March 10th - October 19th
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    I'm just one too many mornings and 1,000 miles behind

  12. #12
    Registered User somers515's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HankIV View Post
    I fully respect the sincerity of the folks in the video and the whole trail support network who have to juggle a whole host of competing interests and priorities. There’s a reason why they open things to public comment, they recognize the need to hear from users. Yeah, and I’m sure the law requires or encourages it.
    Clearly they are someways into their planning, so everyone who thinks there should be a shelter there should chime in tomorrow when public comments are opened.
    ^^^ This.

    It looks pretty easy to register your comment starting tomorrow, I encourage whiteblaze/AT hikers to do so.

    A project website has also been created for the public to access https://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=63432 that will provide a location for comments to be submitted on the proposal. The comment period for this project will be open for twenty days beginning on Monday, January 23, 2023. When the scoping comment period is open, an electronic comment form will become available on the project website by clicking on the “comment” link or by utilizing this direct link https://cara.fs2c.usda.gov/Public//CommentInput?Project=63432
    The meeting to present and discuss the proposal will be held online through Microsoft Teams starting at 7 p.m. EST on Wednesday, January 25, 2023. Use the link to join the meeting in your web browser. No special software is needed to attend. https://tinyurl.com/bxvcnpkx
    LT End-to-Ender 2017; NH 48/48 2015-2021; 8 of 159usForests.com
    "The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness." - John Muir

  13. #13

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    Take the barn down and use the wood to build a new shelter.
    Follow slogoen on Instagram.

  14. #14

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    Couldn't the barn be placed on the National Register of Historic Places and get some funding from uncle Sam? Did somebody try? And what about the ATC? couldn't they pitch in and help renovate the barn? It is actually a historic barn and it would be a shame to just let it go. Just my opinion.

  15. #15
    Registered User Grampie's Avatar
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    Default Overmountain Shelter

    Quote Originally Posted by ScottTrip View Post
    I hate to see this but if it is unsafe, I understand. In 2014 it was the perfect shelter at the perfect time when in pouring rain I was able to secure a spot and get warm, dry, and cook dinner.
    I used the shelter twice in 2001 and again in 2016. It was a wreck in need of repair. I am surprised it has not fallen down or caught on fire. It' time to remove it before it does.
    Grampie-N->2001

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by stephanD View Post
    Couldn't the barn be placed on the National Register of Historic Places and get some funding from uncle Sam? Did somebody try? And what about the ATC? couldn't they pitch in and help renovate the barn? It is actually a historic barn and it would be a shame to just let it go. Just my opinion.
    what's historic about it?

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lone Wolf View Post
    what's historic about it?
    Probably not much other than the movies and battle nearby (which I believe would have been long before the barn was built).

    I enjoyed staying there 10 years ago, but it is probably time to take it down.

  18. #18
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    It was poorly built in 1975, they acquired in 1985 I think they said and put up all sorts of additional bracing to make it last as long as it did. The notion to tear it down and reuse the wood is pretty funny, plus I think every piece of wood in that place in saturated with bird poop from the birds living in there (at least in 2018). Build a new shelter before a pavilion though, pavilion would be a waste.
    NoDoz
    nobo 2018 March 10th - October 19th
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    I'm just one too many mornings and 1,000 miles behind

  19. #19
    mountain squid's Avatar
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    Good comments everyone. The comment period is now open and may be made here: https://cara.fs2c.usda.gov/Public//C...?Project=63432

    Also don't forget the virtual meeting 1/25/23 at 7 pm.

    As far as the NRHP goes, The Barn might meet the 50 year time period but I am not sure if there is anything else of historic interest.

    Certainly a picnic pavilion might not protect from extreme elements as well as a regular shelter. However, it should be sufficient enough to make dinner out of the rain.

    See you on the trail,
    mt squid

  20. #20
    Registered User Tennessee Viking's Avatar
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    I put my thoughts in. Hoping for at least a pavillion big enough for camping under.
    ''Tennessee Viking'
    Mountains to Sea Trail Maintainer
    Former TEHCC (AT) Maintainer
    Falls Lake Trail: 2011

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