Hands-on volunteer opportunities in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Local News

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Great Smoky Mountains National Park staff are hosting volunteer workdays on trails throughout the park in May and June.

These opportunities will allow people to work hands-on to help preserve the 848 miles of maintained trails throughout the park. Volunteers will work alongside the experienced park staff as they help repair erosion control features and perform general tread maintenance on sections of the trail.

Workdays will be held in both Tennessee and North Carolina. The Carolina workdays will be on May 13, May 20, and May 27 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. The Tennessee workdays will be on June 10, June 17, and June 24 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. In addition, a special opportunity will be held in North Carolina on June 5 in honor of National Trails Day.

For the trail workdays, volunteers must be prepared to perform strenuous, manual labor and be able to hike up to four miles per day while carrying tools. Participants will be also expected to safely use hand tools such as shovels, rakes, loppers, and handpicks after receiving training. In addition, other items need to participate are:

• sturdy closed-toed shoes, like boots

• long pants

• appropriate layers for the weather

• a day pack with food

• water

• rain gear

• any other necessary personal gear.

(Photo via National Park Service)

Those 16 and up can participate, however, those under 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. The 2021 Volunteer Program will be following CDC best practices in response to COVID-19.

Pre-registration is required as space will be limited, to register contact Trails and Facilities Volunteer Coordinator Adam Monroe at 828-497-1949 or adam_monroe@nps.gov.

Interested volunteers can also contact Monroe to learn about additional volunteer opportunities throughout the year including, the ‘Adopt-a-Trail’ program and ‘Trails Forever Tuesdays’ on the Abrams Falls Trail, held Tuesdays through September 14. For more information about volunteering in the park, please visit the park website.

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