Jamey Donaldson

Jamey

Photo courtesy of Frank Young

Jamey, Baatany Project leader and goatherd, first saw Roan Mountain from Mt. Rogers in 1988 during his first summer volunteering on the Appalachian Trail, and it was the Appalachian Trail that first brought him physically to Roan early in 1992 during the first of 2 winters working on a thru-hike.

The Blizzard of 1993 impeded the effort and left him with the White Mountains section to complete, something he hopes to finish every time fall comes around. Purists call him a section hiker while others say he has 20 years of zero-mile days and counting.

His balds restoration experience began in the summer of 1992 when he helped with the Pisgah National Forest's goat project on Round Bald just weeks before beginning his botanical career. His first independent research on Roan was in 1993 which recalculated survivorship of the 400 trees Dalton Milford Brown planted atop Round Bald in 1937 (Brown's study was an early investigation into the role of animals and grassy bald maintenance that continues to the present; 10% of the trees remain with most mortality in recent years caused by campers cutting live trees for firewood). During most of the 1990's you could have found Jamey spending Christmas Eve at the Roan High Knob trail shelter with his dog Cheshire Massachusetts.

He received a Master of Science degree in Biology from East Tennessee State University in 1996 for the thesis "A natural diversity inventory of the Appalachian Trail Corridor in northeast Tennessee and adjacent North Carolina". It focused on rare plants and plant communities along 70 miles (10,000 acres) of the Trail from Doll Flats on Roan Mountain north to the Virginia state line. This began his botanical and biological consulting business which has been mostly in Tennessee's Cherokee National Forest while also working in North Carolina, West Virginia, Virginia, Utah, and Idaho. He has been a Roan Mountain Stewardship Committee member and a Roan Mountain Naturalists' Rally hike leader since 1994, the East Tennessee State University John C. Warden Herbarium Adjunct Curator since 1999, a University of Tennessee Knoxville's Great Smoky Mountains Field School instructor since 2004, and is a Life Member of Friends of Roan Mountain.

Baatany Goat Project's Start

Jamey

Photo courtesy of Frank Young

The Baatany Goat Project, which began in 2008, is his current interest in Roan's remarkable natural diversity which includes the highest concentration of rarity along the entire Appalachian Trail (26 globally-rare plant communities, 6 species protected under the Endangered Species Act, and more than 70 other globally and state-listed rare species). "There are a lot of places I would explore if not for Roan" he quipped, and thinks someone else summed it up pretty well when they remarked: "Roan is the kind of place that should be a priority even when there is no crisis, it should still be a priority even when there are crises everywhere else, and we can all do better."




Jamey

Photo courtesy of Frank Young

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