Where in the Appalachian Bioregion are we going?

Where in the Appalachian Bioregion are we going? The consensus was for the White Mountain National Forest (in the Northeast), or the Appalachian states of Kentucky, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Georgia. Spring Council selected a site in North Eastern Tennessee.

If you're not familiar with the gauntlet on the road into the gathering, and want to avoid a mandatory court appearance ticket click here.

For the Howdy Folks and directions to the gathering, click here. For the United States Forest Service Incident Command website with groovy maps and updates, click here.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Jules on Scouting

Today's guest blog post was copied from Jules' post on Facebook from 3/7/2012.  Enjoy!

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Scouting - A primer!!
This is something that some of us put together.

Scouting - (verb) A process that includes spirituality, magic, and science. Among the sciences that apply are hydrology, geology, botany, biology, sociology, ecology, anthropology, archeology, topography, scatology, and unfortunately, political science.

No experience is necessary to participate and new blood is always needed. Be self-sufficient. Have dependable auto and/or gas money to donate. Be ready for harsh conditions. Be ready to hike in the rain uphill for hours. And (disclaimer) this is not the only way to do scouting!

Historically, the annual gathering July 1-7 and most regional rainbow gatherings have been held on pubic land in US National Forest system, never National Parks nor State Parks due to legal issues. US Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land is also public land and could be an option for gatherings.

Map Work
Remember, things aren't always as they appear on the maps.

What type of maps to look at :
  • Topo Map of the Entire State aka Gazetteer
  • Forest Service map that shows all 15 Minute Series Quadrangle (quads) in specific National Forest
  • USGS Quads for each potential site

Where to get maps:
  • Copy maps at libraries
  • Internet use AcmeMapper (uses Google Earth and USGS maps together)
  • purchase quads at hiking/outdoor stores, Forest Service office or online.

Site Criteria
 A good site will have meet most of these criteria:
  • Elevation - below 8,000 feet
  • Water Look for enough for drinking, cooking and washing needs of thousands of people.
  • Best drinking - Water that comes from a spring that can be tapped and piped then filtered or boiled. Away from the potential site with nothing to contaminated it from above - livestock runoff, mining, buildings, road runoff, etc. Rule of thumb: One gallon a minute per 1,000 people. 
  • Open Meadows - One large open enough for daily dinner away from parking, vehicle access and camp/tent sites. Other meadows for councils, pageants, tipis, etc.
  • Camping Area - Plenty of flat spaces, preferably in the trees, for setting up camps. At least 100 feet away from surface water.
  • Plenty of Firewood and Wood for building kitchens - only dead and down firewood may be used. No cutting of green vegetation. 
  • Parking lot and parking - Large open space with suitable access in and out for thousands of cars.Vehicles parked along the side of roads, where parking is allowed, must be pulled off as far as possible. At a minimum, there must be one and half car widths (approx. 10-12 feet) of clearance.
  • Roads - Look for safety issues: room to pass, clearance, parking for thousands, safe for buses, etc. Ideally two roads into site – front and back entrance. Desirable: no road access into the site, not able to see site from roads.
  • Accessibility Issues - Walk into site from parking lot – consider the youngers and the olders, and alter-able people. Look for a way for everyone to get into the gathering easily.

More things to keep in mind:
  • Finding a Spring council site (for June 2nd 2012), site to be found by those who go scouting!
  • Other forest uses in the area - livestock grazing, logging, off-road vehicles
  • finding a good spot for bus village
  • watch out for buildings/structures that could be damaged
  • be attentive to fragile wildlife
  • research archaeological issues
  • beware of private lands embedded in public land

Beyond the site:
  • nearby hospitals
  • local farmers markets
  • cheap gasoline
  • closest grocer, etc.

Just notice and remember things; be ready to share what you have seen.

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If you want to get involved in the scoutong effort, call one of the numbers on the right side of the blog, leave your contact info and someone will call you back.

Some links to other raps on scouting:

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