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 trails. The closest workdays will be held on Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sept. 15 and 22. In addition, a special opportunity will be held 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 4 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. The 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.
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 6-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 may contact Trails and Facilities Volunteer Coordinator Adam Monroe at 497-1949 or email@example.com to register and to learn about additional opportunities throughout the year including the self-led, ‘Adopt-a-Trail’ program.
For more information about volunteering in the park, visit the park website at https://www.nps.gov/grsm/getinvolved/volunteer.htm.