Park Hosts Volunteer Trail Opportunity for National Public Lands Day

Two litter pickup events also occurring on September 22

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is hosting a volunteer trail maintenance workday on Saturday, September 22, 2018, in celebration of the 25th annual National Public Lands Day. Participants are invited to work on a trail rehabilitation project along the Oconaluftee River Trail in Cherokee, North Carolina from 10:00 am to 3:30 pm.

Volunteers will assist park staff in resurfacing a large section of the Oconaluftee River Trail, a multi-use riverside path connecting the town of Cherokee to the Oconaluftee Visitor Center. Volunteers will perform trail maintenance by shoveling, spreading, and compacting surface material. While specific jobs throughout the day may vary in complexity, volunteers must be able to hike at least two miles and safely perform strenuous physical labor. Volunteers should be comfortable using hand tools such as shovels, rakes, and wheelbarrows. Minimum age of participants is 16. Those under 18 must be accompanied by a responsible parent or guardian.

Volunteers should wear long pants, sturdy closed-toed shoes, and appropriate layers for cool 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 adam_monroe@nps.gov for more information and to register.

For folks that would like to help celebrate National Public Lands day, but can’t commit to a full day of trail work, anyone can stop by the Sugarlands Visitor Center between 9:00 am and 3:00 pm on September 22 to sign up as a park volunteer and get free litter pick-up supplies and safety gear. After a quick orientation, participants can take the supplies with them and pick up litter as they have time while they explore the park.

Lastly, the National Park Service is partnering with Keep Sevier Beautiful to host a “Roads and Rivers Day” on the same day. Volunteers can join from 9 am to 12 pm to pick up litter in one of nine locations throughout Sevier County. A park ranger will meet participants at the Boys and Girls Club of the Smoky Mountains, 1820 Sports World Blvd, in Gatlinburg. Additional locations for the community event are listed at www.keepsevierbeautiful.org. Safety vests and trash bags will be provided at 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 Day, visit www.neefusa.org/public-lands-day.