THE DIRT is a weekly look at some of the most pressing outdoor news issues from around the Blue Ridge and Beyond.

This week: Georgia gets a new cycling trail, Shenandoah needs your help, a new parking area for Upper Yough Paddlers, and a German kayaker circumnavigates South America.

Save a Shenandoah Landmark

The Pinnacles Research Facility in Shenandoah National Park was built back in 1935 by members of the Civilian Conservation Corps—President Franklin D Roosevelt’s Great Depression work relief program that created infrastructure in hundreds of national parks. A longtime outpost for maintenance, research, and construction, Pinnacles is now in need of repair, so the nonprofit Shenandoah National Park Trust is trying to raise $150,000 to preserve the park landmark. The facility is still used each year by 700 volunteers, including trail workers from the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club. To help visit

Antebellum Cycling Trail Comes to Georgia

Georgia’s historic antebellum trail, which showcases the seven towns that escaped burning during Sherman’s march, is now accessible via bike. This 170-mile route was designed by the professional cycling planners at Georgia Bicycle Adventures and traverses the lowest traffic roadways through the towns of Macon, Athens, Madison, Milledgeville, Watkinsville, Eatonton, and Gray. Learn more here.

TVA Looks for More Fees from Outfitters for Ocoee Water Releases

The Tennessee Valley Authority is crafting a new agreement for water usage on the Ocoee River that could cost outfitters as much as much as $9 million. The fees would be levied as a result of ‘lost costs of hydro generation’ in the Middle and Upper Ocoee River and would constitute an 800 and a 150 percent increase respectively. If the outfitters are unable to pay, these waterways could be closed to private boaters altogether. Learn how you can help here.

Upper Yough Parking Area Complete

Hundreds of paddlers converged on the Upper Youghiogheny River yesterday to enjoy the first release of the year. Awaiting them in the tiny town of Friendsville, Maryland was a new parking area built with paddler donations and town grants. $25,000 of the money for the new parking area came from paddlers while $160,000 came available through town grants.

Beyond the Blue Ridge: Kayaker Completes First Circumnavigation of South America

After 857 days at sea, Freya Hoffmeister became the first person circumnavigate South America in a kayak. She completed the journey, which included 13 countries and 15,000 miles of coastline, on Friday, April 1. Check out Freya’s blog to learn more.