NCBartramTrail.org

Official Website of the North Carolina Bartram Trail Society

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NCBTS Map in the Asheville Citizen-Times

June 25th, 2010 by NC BTS

Source: Asheville Citizen-Times

When Tim Warren hikes the 80-mile-long Bartram Trail, hidden in Nantahala National Forest of Macon and Swain counties, he sees a sweeping resource, rich in history, biological diversity and scenic splendor. He sees a mighty trail, worthy of seven maps. But who wants to carry seven hiking maps?

For the past two decades, though, anyone hiking the entire trail had to have one map for each of the seven sections of the trail that starts on the North Carolina-Georgia border south of Highlands, snaking through woods, over peaks and across streams, ending at Cheoah Bald.

But now, the N.C. Bartram Trail Society has created one giant map. The Interpretive Hiking Map of North Carolina’s Bartram Trail is a full-color, 28-by-36-inch, two-sided map available for sale after July 1.

[READ FULL ARTICLE HERE]

Category: Announcements, Map, News and Events | No Comments »

New NC Bartram Trail map published

June 18th, 2010 by NC BTS

NC Bartram Trail Society President Tim Warren of Brevard announces that after a three year effort, a new Bartram Trail map has been created, published and is now available!

The new “Interpretive Hiking Map of the NC Bartram Trail” is a full-color, two-sided map measuring 28 x 36. Features included on the map are: an overview of the 75+ miles of hiking trail and the topographic features it traverses; elevation profiles of the trail; USGS topographic contour lines at 50 foot intervals; scale: 1:35,000; GPS coordinates and driving directions to BT trailheads from area towns and EMS assistance info. The Appalachian Trail (from Wayah Bald to the Cheoah Bald area) and the Appletree area loop trails are also shown.

The map also features mile by mile readings for both north-to-south hiking and south-to-north hiking, locations of scenic vistas, waterfalls, historic markers, picnic areas and campgrounds. But the feature likely to become a favorite for natural and cultural history enthusiasts are the native flora and fauna notes from along the trail, information about William Bartram’s historic visit to the area and notes about the non-profit NC Bartram Trail Society.

National Forest recreation users in mind when creating the new map were day hikers, backpackers, exercise runners, nature photographers, wildflower enthusiasts, and area history buffs. The NCBTS hopes this attractive, colorful and informative map will excite folks enough to plan a recreation outing or hike in their national forests and gain many years of enjoyment from the map.

Primary funding for the map was through a grant from the Blue Ridge National Heritage Areablueridgeheritage.com.  Substantial donations were received from the Highlands Biological Foundation, The Wilderness Society, Nantahala Outdoor Center, private donors and the BTS membership.

The grant was written primarily to fund the NCBTS’s desire to provide free trail maps to educational institutions and conservation groups. Over one thousand free maps have already been distributed to WNC schools, public and college libraries, summer camps, chambers of commerce, visitor centers and other groups. Maps were also distributed to nature centers, history museums and botanical societies around the state and region.

The new map is available for sale (after July 2) at area USFS Ranger Stations and area outfitters. It may also be ordered online at http://ncbartramtrail.org by using Pay Pal or mailing a check for $12 (includes postage) to:

NC Bartram Trail Society
P. O. Box 968
Highlands, NC  28741

The NC Bartram Trail is a National Recreation Trail and is for foot travel only. It is not open to horseback riding, ORVs or mountain bikes. The trail is maintained by a small group of trail volunteers who typically meet on the second Saturday of each month.

For more information about the map, the trail or the BTS, contact Ina Warren at info@ncbartramtrail.org

Category: Announcements, Map, News and Events, On the Trail | No Comments »

A Journey: The New Bartram Trail Map (Update)

May 10th, 2010 by NC BTS

A JOURNEY: THE NEW BARTRAM TRAIL MAP (UPDATE)

In 2007 the NCBTS Board of Directors felt that it was time to replace the existing set of seven individual “Section” maps that covered the path of the North Carolina (NC) portion of the Bartram Trail (BT). So a Map Team was chartered to produce a BT map that would be a more “conventional” single sheet, two-sided map.

After the membership of the team was established, the first thing to be done was to determine the “characteristics” that we wanted to be included in the map. We internally developed a list of desired characteristics and canvassed other hiking organizations/map makers for their “lessons learned” in developing their map(s). In particular, we were interested in the manner in which the volunteer, non-profit organizations (such as ours) went about developing/creating their map(s).

We are deeply indebted to folks from the following organizations for freely sharing with us their experiences and advice on “how” to go about this task: The Foothills Trail, The Benton McKaye Trail, The Appalachian Trail Conservancy, The Mountain-to-Sea Trail and the Map Division of the National Geographic Society. Their help kept us from stepping into many “potholes” along the way.

As a result of the “mentoring” received from the organizations listed above, we decided not to attempt to completely develop the new map “internally” with an all-volunteer organization. Thus, we sought a grant that would allow us to hire a cartographer and an experienced commercial map printer.

We did decide, however, to re-affirm the path of the BT and the location of its main features (e.g., water sources, campsites, vistas, road accesses, etc) with an internal, all-volunteer effort. Thus we walked the NC BT with GPS equipment and a “wheel” that measured the actual length of the trail. Since the acquisition of GPS signals is best accomplished without foliage on the trees, this was a predominantly a winter-season effort. Due to the scope of the task (over 66 miles of footpath, including side trails) and acceptable weather days (no rain, snow or dense cloud cover), it took the winter of 2007/2008 and 2008/2009 to accomplish this data acquisition task.

For the portions of the BT where we had significant “experienced-derived” confidence in the USFS GIS/GPS data, we accepted their trail location data, but still gathered our own data for campsites, water sources, etc.

While the trail data acquisition effort was progressing, a “Grant Team” was formed by the NCBTS Board of Directors to seek the funds necessary to hire the cartographer and pay for the commercial printing of the map. The team began searching for funding sources and submitted a grant request in the fall of 2008 to the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area (BRNHA).

Due to the team’s excellent work, we were successful in obtaining a “matching” type of grant from the BRNHA in January of 2009 for both the cost of the cartographer and the printer. The estimated total cost was about $11,000 for the map development and the printing of an initial 3000 copies of the map, a significant number of which were to be distributed free to organization types specified in the grant.

This new BT map will be “more than a map”. The NCBTS has a dual purpose: Promote the contributions of William Bartram, as well as maintain the trail named in his honor. The interests of the BRNHA are to promote tourism and provide interpretive information of the natural treasures of western North Carolina. These are synergistic interests and thus the new map will also contain information on William Bartram, his contribution to the history of the area and his encounters with the Native Cherokees as well as interpretive information on the natural and cultural history of the region.

The intended cumulative effect of the new map is to enhance the experience of those already using the trail and increase the number of hikers, backpackers, nature enthusiasts, exercise enthusiasts, and history buffs that will come to the area and use the trail.

Once we were assured of the funds for the map effort, the search for a qualified cartographer began with “requirements” listing we placed on the internet (CartoTalk.com) discussing the requirements for our map. Fourteen firms responded to the listing with an eventual seven proposals being submitted. In May of 2009 the Ozark Cartographer’s Guild (OCG) was
selected by the Map Team and the Board of Directors as having the best qualifications and lowest proposed cost for the effort. The OCG cartographer assigned the map task was Kristian Underwood.

The initial transfer of GPS, wheel and interpretive data from the NCBTS to OCG was accomplished and in August 2009 the first draft map was delivered to the NCBTS by OCG for review and comment. Map Team members reviewed that draft, which we had in both hardcopy and digital form.

The Map Team thought Kristian had done an excellent job on the first draft in selecting the scale/size of the map and its geographic coverage……the really big “drivers’ in making a map. An initial review of the interpretive information placed on the map was made to ensure the area occupied by it did not interfere with the essential “hiking” information.

The map has progressed from that point to a second draft which was provided by OCG in November. The Map Team met again in early November for review of that map. That three hour review resulted in 13 pages of questions and clarifications which were transmitted to Kristian for his review prior to a face-to-face meeting with him in late November. All questions/clarifications were resolved successfully and the next phase of the map development could proceed.

Concurrent with the activity described above, the Map Team worked with the prospective publisher, Techna-Graphics, to establish the necessary financial and contractual relationships that will facilitate the printing process.

Over the last several months we have reviewed and commented back to OCG on a series of drafts and what is called the final “proof map”. This process was unavoidably extended in time beyond our original schedule due to the harsh winter conditions both in WNC and in Arkansas, the location of OCG. Multiple snow/ice storms with the concurrent loss of commercial power and the inability to travel for meetings, sometimes for days, prevented reviews of the map drafts. However we met as a team as soon as we could and the updated digital file of that “proof” map has now been transferred to the publisher, Techna-Graphics,

We are now in the publisher’s queue and it looks like we can expect a new NC BT map to be in our hands by the end of May or early June. We will then begin distribution of the free maps to the organization types specified in the BRNHA grant and to the commercial vendors who will sell the map. The map will also be available on this website.

The NCBTS feels that we have a new NC BT map that will not only be useful to the hiker, but will also add value to the experience of anyone visiting the western North Carolina Mountains. We hope the users of the map agree.

Category: Announcements, Map | 3 Comments »