Learning Hemlocks + Loving Waterfalls 9.28.2019

Date: Saturday, September 28, 2019
Time: 10 am – 4 pm
Leader(s): Stacie James, Program Coordinator, UNG Environmental Leadership Center; Jim Sullivan, long-time ForestWatch leader and woolly adelgid warrior, working through the Forest Health Program with the Georgia Forestry Commission; and Sue Harmon, GFW Board Member and Master Naturalist.
Location: Hemlock Falls Trail at Moccasin Creek State Park, Rabun County
Outing Description: Stacie, Jim, and Sue will lead an educational “issue” hike along the beautiful and easy strolling trail at Hemlock Falls. We’ll learn about the history of the woolly adelgid, an invasive species that kills hemlocks. We’ll learn what damage has already been done, how this pest is being managed, and what the future outcome might be. As the cool, shady trail follows the mossy rocks and tumbling waters of Moccasin Creek, we’ll point out flora and fauna species to those interested in learning more.
Meeting Place Directions: Go to the trail head parking lot off of Hwy 197, right across from the Lake Burton Trout Hatchery (which is next to the Moccasin Creek State Park Campground on Lake Burton). Although you would typically turn onto Andersonville Lane at this intersection, you will likely find it blocked by heavy equipment (they are building a new dam) in which case you just take the asphalt driveway directly south of Andersonville Lane and go up hill, passing right by the carport of a home on your left. Continue downhill from the carport to Andersonville Lane (gravel road) and turn left. Continue straight ahead on Andersonville Ln. You’ll pass one road coming in on the left, but you continue straight. Next the road will fork and you’ll see signage for a camp to your right. Go left at that fork and you’ll soon come upon the gravel parking area for the trail head on your left.
See meeting place on Google Maps
Distance and Difficulty: Lower Falls: 3 miles total, out and back – Easy but typical rocks and roots and muddy, wet seeps to cross. Can be slippery. Leisurely pace. Likely time back at your car is 2pm.
Upper Falls: 4.5 miles total, out and back – Strenuous due to scrambling several steep, wet trail sections + negotiating blow downs + creek crossing on slippery boulders + possible short bushwhacks. You must be fit, agile, have good balance, and strong legs to do this portion of the hike. Likely time back at your car is 3pm or 4pm, depending on pace and interest in exploring the area. Appropriate shoes (with good treads) and long pants are required for this hike to the upper falls. Some will want to have a hiking pole.
What to Bring and Wear: Lunch, plenty of water, rain gear, sturdy footwear, hiking poles if you want them. If allergic to bees/wasps, remember to bring your meds/epi-pen.  
Cancellation: Hikers will be notified by email, by 6:00 pm the evening before the hike, if the outing is cancelled due to forecast of severe weather, etc. 
Pet Policy: No pets on this Outing, please
Family Safe Policy: Georgia ForestWatch Outings are a smoke, alcohol, and drug-free setting.
Leader Contact: Sue Harmon
Please contact the Hike Leader directly for more information
Participant Limit: 26

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