Great Smoky Mountains National Park will host a variety of opportunities on Saturday, Sept. 28 in celebration of the 26th annual National Public Lands Day. On this day, National Park Service staff and volunteers will host information stations at popular sites throughout the national park. These stations will offer information about Leave No Trace principles and provide tips on how visitors can explore and enjoy the National Park while reducing their impact on the natural environment around them. Informational stations will be in operation from 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
At Sugarlands Visitor Center and at Clingmans Dome, visitors and families are invited to sign up to become a Volunteer-In-Park (VIP) and participate in the park’s Litter Patrol Program. Whether visitors are planning to day hike, picnic, fish, or camp, they will be encouraged to do their part to help keep the park beautiful while they are out enjoying their public lands. Children, teens, and adults will be provided with all materials needed (gloves, grabbers, bags, safety vests) to perform litter patrol in the area of the park they are visiting this day.
In addition to these opportunities, the park will also host a volunteer Trail Maintenance Workday. Participants are invited to participate on a trail rehabilitation project on the Kanati Fork Trail from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Trail volunteers will perform a variety of duties including; installation of drainage features, rehabilitation of trail surfaces, and removal of brush. The workday will offer a great opportunity to learn about sustainable trail design and gain a behind the scenes look at what it takes to maintain the vast trail network of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. While jobs may vary in complexity, volunteers must be able to hike at least 2 miles and safely perform strenuous manual labor. Trail volunteers should be comfortable using hand tools such as shovels, rakes, and pick-axes. Minimum age of participants is 16. Those under 18 must be accompanied by a responsible parent or guardian.
Trail volunteers should wear long pants, long sleeves, sturdy closed-toed shoes, and appropriate layers for changing weather. The park will provide gloves, safety gear, and tools for the day. All participants should bring lunch, water, and rain gear. Interested participants should contact Trail and Facilities Volunteer Coordinator Adam Monroe at 828-497-1949 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and registration.
National Public Lands Day is the nation’s largest single-day volunteer effort to improve and enhance the public lands across America. This year’s celebration is expected to draw more than 200,000 volunteers at more than 2,600 sites. For more information about National Public Lands visit https://www.neefusa.org/public-lands-day.