The segments of the John Muir Trail at Honey Creek and Leatherwood will soon become one.
The Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area has begun preliminary work on the portion of the trail that will traverse Hurricane Ridge southeast of the O&W Bridge, a distance of about 3.6 miles.
Big South Fork NRRA superintendent Niki Stephanie Nicholas said Friday that park crews are “at the very initial stages of prepping to start work on the connector.”
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[s2If current_user_can(access_s2member_level1)]Hopes are to be ready to start the real work on the trail on National Public Lands Day — Sept. 28 — in order to have volunteers “help kick off the effort,” Nicholas said.
Once completed, the John Muir Trail will extend much of the length of the 125,000-acre national park, from the southern-most tip of Peter’s Ford in Fentress County, near Armathawaite, to Pickett State Park near the TN-KY border.
Currently, the southern segment of the JMT extends from Burnt Mill Bridge to Honey Creek, following the Burnt Mill Loop, Beaver Falls and Honey Creek Loop trails. The northern segment extends from Pickett State Forest to Devil’s Den, a rock house situated on the edge of Hurricane Ridge just above O&W Bridge. It follows portions of the Grand Gap Loop, No Business and other trails.
Although adventurous hikers occasionally make the trek from O&W to Honey Creek using a network of existing horse trails, abandoned logging roads and faint trails through the underbrush, there is no formal trail connecting the two segments of the JMT.
Long-range park plans include extending the JMT from the Burnt Mill area to Peter’s Ford, though it will likely be years before the southern-most mileage is added to the trail.[/s2If]