Park Recruits Trail Volunteers

April 12, 2022

stairs on Trillium Gap Trail

Great Smoky Mountains National Park rangers are recruiting volunteers to adopt a trail along the 848 miles of maintained trails across the park. Volunteers are needed to hike at least one designated trail, four times per year, and submit a report on their findings. 

Trail adopters report tree blowdowns and other trail damage to park staff. NPS photo

Information that adopters provide is critical in helping park trail maintenance staff better prioritize work. Through this coordinated effort, the park can better ensure that trails remain accessible for visitors and that trailside resources are protected.

No experience is required, but prospective volunteers should be comfortable hiking in the backcountry and enjoy interaction with visitors.  

Volunteers must attend a 3-hour required training which includes information on how the park maintains trails, how to report relevant trail needs information, and how to instill ‘Leave No Trace’ practices while hiking. 

Volunteers must attend one of the following training opportunities held from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at Oconaluftee Visitor Center near Cherokee, NC on Friday, April 29 or at Sugarlands Visitor Center near Gatlinburg, TN on Saturday, April 30.

If you are interested in this volunteer opportunity, please contact Trails and Facilities Volunteer Coordinator Adam Monroe by phone at 828-497-1949 or email adam_monroe@nps.gov to register for the training.  

For information about the Trails Forever initiative and the ongoing partnership with Friends of the Smokies to improve many of the parks most heavily trafficked trails, visit https://friendsofthesmokies.org/trailsforever/ for additional volunteer opportunities.