Great Smoky Mountains National Park staff are hosting several volunteer workdays in September on trails throughout the Park. These opportunities are ideal for people who enjoy hiking and hands-on work in a beautiful setting. Volunteer service will take place alongside experienced Park staff and will help preserve the 848 miles of maintained trails throughout the Park.
Volunteers will help repair erosion control features, cut back overgrown vegetation, and perform general trail tread maintenance on sections of trail. Workdays will be held on Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in North Carolina on Sept. 8, 15, and 22 and in Tennessee on Sept. 2 and 9. In addition, a special opportunity will be held in North Carolina on Saturday, Sept. 25, in honor of National Public Lands Day.
For the trail workdays, volunteers must be able to safely hike while carrying tools up to four miles per day and be prepared to perform strenuous, manual labor. After receiving proper training, participants will be expected to safely use hand tools such as shovels, rakes, loppers, and hand picks. Minimum age of participants is 16. Those under 18 must be accompanied by a responsible parent or guardian. Pre-registration is required as space will be limited. Please contact Trails and Facilities Volunteer Coordinator Adam Monroe 497-1949 or firstname.lastname@example.org for workday details and to register.
Staff and volunteers continue to follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance and National Park Service policy in efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Currently, individuals are required to wear a mask in crowded outdoor locations when six-foot physical distancing cannot be maintained. Volunteers will need to wear boots or sturdy closed toed shoes, long pants, and appropriate layers for inclement weather. Volunteers should bring a day pack with food, water, rain gear and any other personal gear for the day. The Park will provide instruction, necessary safety gear, and tools.
Interested volunteers can also contact Monroe to learn about additional volunteer opportunities throughout the year including the self-led, ‘Adopt-a-Trail’ program. For more information about the volunteering in the Park, please visit the Park website at https://www.nps.gov/grsm/getinvolved/volunteer.htm.
– National Park Service release