Sheltered coves and north-facing cliffs are hemlock habitats in Eastern Kentucky. This map shows range of elevation change within a 164-foot square area. Red areas indicate the highest relief, which are mountain slopes in the coal fields, and cliffs along the Pottsville Escarpment and Pine and Cumberland Mountains fault. Since most cliff is sandstone, areas indicated as cliffs would presumably have sandy soils, which is a condition for other evergreen species habitats, e.g., mountain laurel and rhododendron.
This is first-run test. Further analysis would include adding aspect, evergreen canopy cover, and soils to better refine predicting hemlock habitat.
After an unusually long and cold winter, Kentucky has finally emerged to full-blown spring weather. These five images show the clearest, cloud-free day for each month from January 1 to May 5. Snow is clearly seen in the first two months and it’s striking how defined the snow lines are, perhaps 20 miles. You could have heavy snow in Lexington, but snow free in Richmond.
In the January image, we can see the hemlock and pine forest in the Red River Gorge and recently mined ares in eastern Kentucky. In the February image, Cave Run Lake appears frozen.
Another interesting observation is the rate pastures and forests leaf out. Kentucky’s pastures became green in early April, while the forests leaf out by the first days of May.
March is my favorite image. The sun is the highest while the vegetation is at the minimum. Soon, the explosion of photosynthesis will sweeten the earth with life.
No wildfires are seen (maybe one in April image in eastern Kentucky).
These satellite images are from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instruments on two satellites, Aqua and Terra. MODIS captures 36 electromagnetic wavelength bands to measure atmospheric water vapor, ozone, aerosols, land fire, surface temperature, and many other important variables of global climate. These images are visible light and clearly show the change in deciduous canopy cover within roughly a month of time. Spatial resolutions are between 250 m to 1 km.
We are sharing our first draft of the Sheltowee Trace North map and we encourage you to proof it and give us feedback. The map covers the ST from the north terminus in Rowan County, Kentucky to DBNF’s Turkey Foot Campground along the banks of the War Fork near McKee, Jackson County.
The print format of this map will be 19″ x 27″ and on two double-sided sheets. The layout format is following: map one is Northern Terminus to Corner Ridge at Mariba; and map two is Corner Ridge to Turkey Foot.
Since the northern half of the ST has more contiguous public land, we went to the big sheet showing larger tracts of area. Trails in the Cave Run Lake and Red River Gorge areas are completely covered; in fact, this map might cover all official trails in the Cumberland Ranger District.
What needs to be done? We still need to add elevation contour labels and Sheltowee Trace mile markers. The south map counts miles from the old southern terminus and is no longer correct. To resolve mile markers on the north map, we’ll start counting from the northern terminus and provide a conversion for north-bound hikers using either the new or old southern terminus. Any suggestions about this mile maker plan?
A few notes about the map viewer. This map viewer is built out of TileMill and should work with most modern browsers, including mobile. As we develop new data about the alignment and distance of the Trace, we can easily update this draft. The images are reduced in resolution and they will appear a little ragged. We’re proofing content, here so please don’t the aesthetics, yet!
NOTE: the interactive works in Firefox, Chrome, Safari, and IE8. You’ll need to run compatibility mode if your browser is IE9 or greater.
A hike down the Sheltowee Trace from Pinch ‘Em Tight Trailhead to the suspension bridge across the Red River. September saw more rain than usual and the river’s tributaries were decently full for late summer. Chimney Top Creek showed evidence of a recent flood. Intersections with smaller streams had freshly deposited sand and flattened vegetation a foot above the bank.
Predicting climate in the old days relied upon observing cues in nature. The Farmers’ Almanac finds that people looked at woolly worms in late summer in get a sense of winter. The more black hairs on the worm, the colder and wetter the winter. Of course woolly worms come in all configurations of black and orange colorings so how could a worm’s coat predict winter? It can as an analogy; you look at the forecast to decide which coat you’re going to wear before leaving home. I think you would want to wear a black coat as opposed to a white coat on a very cold and sunny day to maximize the amount of solar energy you could absorb. Woolly worms just plan far ahead.
Today we track global changes in wind patterns and sea surface temperatures to predict weather conditions. NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center has issued a climate forecast for this winter based on the El Niño pattern emerging in the Pacific Ocean.
Below are winter predictions for the U.S. indicating greater or lesser chances for departures in average winter temperatures and precipitation.
El Niño is a departure from average sea surface temperatures created by a change in the intensity and direction of equatorial winds. In a normal period, strong easterly trade winds blow across the Pacific and upwell cold, nutrient rich waters on the west coast of South America. These same winds also pile up water in the western Pacific so that the sea surface is about 2 feet higher at Indonesia than at Ecuador.
In an El Niño cycle, the winds are not as intense and warmer sea surface temperatures extend further to east. This change has a global impact on weather with increased precipitation on the west coast of South America and the south & east coasts of North America. Warmer than normal conditions also occur at higher latitudes in North America and over the Pacific ocean.
The Future of the Trace: Sept 12, 2009
Join a group of trail enthusiasts and forest & park officials at the Daniel Boone NFS headquarters in Winchester to discuss the future of the Sheltowee Trace. We need as many committed folks as possible to attend. Voice your support for the Sheltowee Trace.
If you would like to attend, you can RSVP here with a comment so we can plan for breakfast and lunch!
Where: Clark County Extension Office (map below)
1400 Fortune Dr
Winchester, KY 40391-8292
9:30 to 10:00 – Meet and Greet – Coffee, Juice and Bagels, Donuts provided.
10:00 Opening Comments
- Frank Beum, Forest Supervisor, Daniel Boone National Forest
- Steve Handley, Big South Fork National Recreational Area, National Park Service
- Carey Tichenor, Ky State Parks and Recreation
- Steve Barbour, Interim Executive Director, The Sheltowee Trace Association
10:30 – Updates on the Current Condition of The Trace in each Ranger District and Plans for the next 12 to 24 months
10:45 – Current Management Plan Development
- Federal and State Funding Levels
- Challenges of a Muti-use Trail
- Current on-going volunteer programs
- Short Term and Long Term Maintenance Issues
- Trace Blazing – Signage
- Land Acquisition
- Trace Relocation
- Maintaining Easements
- Development of the Volunteer Base
- Promoting The Trace across the state
Following these discussion will be a session on forming the Sheltowee Trace Association, a non-profit dedicated to promoting and protecting this National Recreation Trail.
Spring is typically a wet month. However over the past week, Eastern Kentucky has experienced unusual rainfall amounts. The record for the month is 10.78 inches in 2004; and no other year has been above 10 inches for May. The only year that saw over 9 inches of rainfall for May was in 1995. May during 1983 and 1984 were the only times over 7 inches of rainfall.
From the National Weather Service in Jackson, Kentucky:
"2 TO 5 INCHES OF RAIN HAS FALLEN ACROSS EASTERN KENTUCKY DURING THE MONTH OF MAY. THIS IS OF INTEREST...SINCE WE ARE ONLY ABOUT ONE QUARTER OF THE WAY THROUGH THE MONTH. HEAVY RAINFALL IS VERY POSSIBLE AS WE HEAD INTO MOTHERS DAY WEEKEND AND COULD PUSH RAINFALL AMOUNTS UP ANOTHER INCH OR TWO. THE AVERAGE PRECIPITATION FOR THE MONTH OF MAY AT THE JACKSON WEATHER OFFICE IS 4.92 INCHES. WE HAVE ALL READY RECORDED 4.12 INCHES OF RAINFALL AS OF THIS MORNING AT 7AM. IT IS TOO EARLY TO TELL ...BUT WE ARE CERTAINLY ON TRACK TO HAVE ONE OF THE RAINIEST MAYS EVER. THE RAINIEST MAY OCCURRED IN 2004 WHEN THE JACKSON WEATHER OFFICE RECORDED 10.78 INCHES FOR THE MONTH. THIS WAS THE ONLY MONTH OF MAY THAT OVER TEN INCHES OF RAIN FELL. MAY OF 1995 HAD 9.91 INCHES AND WAS THE ONLY MONTH WITH OVER 9 INCHES RECORDED. THE NEXT HIGHEST TOTALS WERE OVER 7 INCHES AND THAT OCCURRED IN ONLY TWO YEARS...1983 AND 1984. HERE ARE RAINFALL TOTALS FROM EASTERN KENTUCKY COOPERATIVE WEATHER STATIONS AND AUTOMATED SURFACE OBSERVING SYSTEMS AS OF 7 AM EDT...FOR THE MONTH OF MAY 2009.
LOCATION / COUNTY / PRECIPITATION
BARBOURVILLE KNOX 4.38 INCHES BAXTER HARLAN 3.85 INCHES BEATTYVILLE 4N LEE 3.68 INCHES BIG SHELBY PIKE 3.01 INCHES BOONEVILLE 1SE OWSLEY 4.49 INCHES BUCKHORN LAKE PERRY 2.80 INCHES CARR CREEK LAKE KNOTT 2.73 INCHES CAVE RUN LAKE ROWAN 2.28 INCHES CLAY CITY 1WNW POWELL 2.77 INCHES CLOSPLINT 4ESE HARLAN 4.55 INCHES COLO PULASKI 3.98 INCHES CRESSY ESTILL 2.59 INCHES DRAFFIN PIKE 3.54 INCHES EZEL MORGAN 3.31 INCHES GIMLET ELLIOTT 2.60 INCHES HARLAN 1S HARLAN 3.80 INCHES HARLAN STATE POLICE HARLAN 2.95 INCHES HAZARD WATER PERRY 3.71 INCHES HAZARD PERRY 3.70 INCHES HAZARD STATE POLICE PERRY 2.95 INCHES HEIDELBERG 2N LEE 4.05 INCHES BAXTER HARLAN 3.85 INCHES INEZ 2E MARTIN 3.78 INCHES ISLAND CITY OWSLEY 5.16 INCHES IVEL FLOYD 2.27 INCHES NWS JACKSON BREATHITT 4.12 INCHES JEREMIAH 1S LETCHER 3.11 INCHES KINGDOM COME ST PARK HARLAN 3.12 INCHES LONDON CORBIN APT LAUREL 4.46 INCHES MONTICELLO 3NE WAYNE 4.00 INCHES MOUNT STERLING 5N MONTGOMERY 2.41 INCHES MOUNT VERNON ROCKCASTLE 2.77 INCHES ONEIDA CLAY 4.54 INCHES PAINTSVILLE 1E JOHNSON 3.55 INCHES PIKEVILLE ST POLICE PIKE 2.05 INCHES PRESTONSBURG 3NW FLOYD 4.09 INCHES QUICKSAND BREATHITT 3.52 INCHES RELIEF MORGAN 3.18 INCHES ROGERS WOLFE 2.82 INCHES SALYERSVILLE MAGOFFIN 4.28 INCHES SANDY HOOK ELLIOTT 2.67 INCHES SKYLINE LETCHER 3.20 INCHES SLADE 5NE POWELL 2.86 INCHES SOMERSET 2N PULASKI 3.74 INCHES STANTON 2W POWELL 2.88 INCHES STEARNS 2S MCCREARY 5.09 INCHES VICTORY 5NW LAUREL 4.13 INCHES WEST LIBERTY 3NW MORGAN 2.67 INCHES WEST LIBERTY 11NW MORGAN 2.57 INCHES WHITESBURG LETCHER 2.50 INCHES WHITESBURG 2SE LETCHER 3.21 INCHES WILLIAMSBURG 1NW WHITLEY 5.14 INCHES
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE AT JACKSON WOULD LIKE TO THANK ALL THE DEDICATED COOPERATIVE WEATHER OBSERVERS FOR THEIR TIMELY REPORTS."
As we gear up for the Sheltowee Trace topographic map, I thought it would be interesting to see if a complete 3d map of the ST could be printed. Unfortunately, it would have to be a huge sheet of paper to get the detail necessary for a good map. But as an online viewer, I see potential. This sample is a raw render output and you can see well the basic physiography. Now we just need to add trails, transportation, labels, etc….nothing too much, just about 6,000 sq. mi. for the Daniel Boone NF.
Explore this map through a zoomable flash map
5th Edition Red River Gorge Backpacking Map
It’s almost ready for release!
A complete remake of our popular backpacking guide with the green maps. This new set keeps all of the great features of the old maps, but in full-color and updated trails and data.
Visit our Gorge webpage to learn more: http://www.outrageGIS.com/gorge
In January we looked at the previous editions, all 2-color with an travel elevation profile booklet, and thought how we could improve it. We had used aerial photography to show landcover type, which did a good job indicating density of canopy, open areas, sunlight, and offered a rustic green background for our GPS trails.
However, most people are confused when they look at aerial photographs…they think hills are valleys and vice versa. This terrain inversion is a significant cartographic problem, but we were confident then when most people *used them in the field* they made sense.
While unique advantages exist using photographs, for the new edition we used a custom created, full-color hillshade that shows forest canopy cover type and open areas. We artificially lit the landscape from the west and eliminated terrain inversion. We added a distinct stream symbol to clearly mark drainage. With 50-foot contours and spot elevations, this new edition offers a handsome way to stay located.
Since most GPS applications are now by default in the latitude/longitude (decimal degrees) coordinate system, we added this graticule to the map. A UTM grid is also labeled. With scales on the corners of maps that can be seen while folded, a hiker can quickly determine distance and locate themselves with a GPS in either dd.dddd or UTM coordinate systems.
We still have all of the trail profiles, side trails, backcountry campsites that were in the previous edition. The new edition actually covers more area and trails.
|Red River Gorge Backpacking Map: $14
If you have used our Red River Gorge hiking map, you’ve noticed that trail intersections are labeled. This is to help read the elevation profiles. Another way to represent relative changes in elevation is with a 3D map. Below is a simple render of the core, historic trails in Natural Bridge State Resort Park. There’s about 7 miles of trail shown on this map, and they’re probably the most used trails in the Red River Gorge.
The Red River Gorge was impacted by the January ice storm. The gravel FS roads were closed for about a week, but they are now open. All of the trails in the Red River Gorge proper have been cleared of debris, except Courthouse Rock Trail, Rough Trail over Parched Corn Creek, and the Sheltowee Trace north of Bison Way. Trails in the Clifty Wilderness has not been cleared, and since no chainsaws are allowed there, it might take time to clear.
The debris is problematic, but not a deal breaker in my opinion. Though if you are backpacking and/or have leashed dogs, a down tree on the trail is problem. I went out Swift Camp Creek east of 715 for about a mile and the trail was not that bad. As with any backcountry adventure, you’ll expect an element of danger so please use an extra measure of caution on trails in the Clifty Wilderness…and tell us how they are!
Red River Gorge trails are fantastic right now. This late September season has given us clear, warm days and dry, cool nights. The waning moon is glowing through high cirrostratus that are hinting rain, but none is in the forecast.
The high pressure that has cleared our skies and dried out our humidity, is an extensive mass of subsiding air that is evaporating any encroaching low level moisture. In the late afternoon, you’ll see some isolated cumulus clouds develop, but are stunted from any vertical growth. No rain to parch your throat.
Drought is a serious concern in the following weeks. Martin’s Fork at the head of D Boone hut is following about a gallon/minute. This groundwater will eventually drain out leaving vacant streams beds in the mid and upper reaches of hollows.The advice is get on the trail now or pray for rain in October. For more info and maps on the current drought, look at our post on this topic.
Red River Gorge Sports Map
Distance: Varied mileage for approaches to climbing areas
Scenic Views: ++++
Elevation Relief: 800ft
Ownership: Daniel Boone National Forest, USFS, Red River Gorge Climber’s Coalition, The Muir Valley, and private lands
Google to trailhead
|Red River Gorge Sports map: $7
The Red River Gorge is internationally known for rock climbing. With the expansive development of climbing areas in the Gorge, numerous guidebooks have been published to help climbers find new routes. The current definitive publication and website is RedRiverClimbing.com. An interactive map locating climbing areas pulls from redriverclimbing.com’s online guidebook and shows the myriad of publications currently available. While the basic GPS-gridded map with 50 crags, the Muir Valley, and the Southern Gorge can be purchased here.