National Trails Day is the American Hiking Society’s signature trail awareness program and the date this year is set for June 5th. National Trails Day is to inspire the public to get out and celebrate, discover and learn about trails nationwide. There will be many events all across the country. The Smoky Mountain Hiking Club will utilize the day as a trail repair and construction event. The Park is currently recruiting volunteers for two of the projects that are supported through the National Park Foundation and the Trails Forever Program. They are the Crooked Arm Ridge Trail on the Tennessee side of the Park near Cades Cove and the Grassy Branch Trail on the North Carolina side of the Park near Cherokee. On the Crooked Arm Ridge Trail volunteers will work to improve the trail by installing waterbars, maintaining existing drainage structures, removing social trails and defining the trail tread. On the Grassy Branch Trail volunteers will work to dig a new section of trail that is permanently being relocated.Work will be between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. on both projects and Great Smoky Mountains National Park will provide all the necessary equipment needed for the project. Volunteers should come prepared to work in the woods and must be able to hike, safely perform manual labor, and be comfortable using hand tools. It is suggested that participants dress in good sturdy foot wear and long pants. Since volunteers will be working a full day, it will be necessary to pack a lunch and plenty of water.
To attend these projects RSVP by May 28 to the Trails & Facilities Volunteer Coordinator, Christine Hoyer, at 828-497-1949. At the time of RSVP, volunteers will be provided with further project and trailhead information.
Also, the Friends of the Smokies are inviting volunteers to help out with the 14th Annual Appalachian Trail Work Day in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
, in cooperation with the Appalachian Trail Conservancy and the Smoky Mountains Hiking Club. The work day concludes with a barbecue picnic at Metcalf Bottoms Picnic Area for all registrants who will also receive a commemorative t-shirt. A registration fee for this activity will apply which goes to sponsor trail projects in the Smokies.