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Volunteer with Trails Forever crew on Trillium Gap Trail

June 22, 2019

GSMNP Trails Forever volunteers

by Julie Dodd

You can be part of restoring Trillium Gap Trail by volunteering with the Trails Forever crew.

The crew is working on the trail Mondays through Thursdays from May 13 through November 15. Volunteers join the crew on Wednesdays.

How do I volunteer?

Contact Trails and Facilities Volunteer Coordinator Adam Monroe at 828-497-1949 or adam_monroe@nps.gov for more details and to register. You must register in advance to volunteer.

What will I do as a volunteer?
GSMNP Trails Forever volunteers

Volunteers must hike to the work location. These trail volunteers worked on Chimney Tops Trail. NPS photos

Trails Forever volunteers perform a wide range of trail maintenance and trail rehabilitation work. The particular jobs you are assigned will vary depending on your experience level and the part of the trail that is being worked on.

You may install drainage structures, rehabilitate trail surfaces, construct raised trail segments, remove brush and vegetation, or build foot logs and bridges.

All Trails Forever volunteers must be able to hike and safely perform strenuous and often difficult manual labor.

Volunteers should be able to hike at least 4 miles and be comfortable lifting heavy objects and using hand tools, such as shovels, fire rakes, axes, sledgehammers, etc.

How long are Trails Forever volunteers required to work?

Typically Trails Forever workdays will start at 9 a.m. and end at 3 p.m.  If you need to leave early or arrive late, let the Trails Volunteer Coordinator know when you register to volunteer. Volunteers need to provide their own transportation to the Trillium Gap Trailhead.

What do I need to bring?
Volunteers on Rainbow Falls Trail

Job Corps and other volunteers assisted the Trails Forever crew on the Rainbow Falls Trail restoration work.

Volunteers are required to provide their own backpack, food, water and clothing. All tools and necessary equipment will be provided. Volunteers must wear closed-toes shoes (preferably boots) and long pants. No sandals or other open-toed shoes are allowed.

Volunteers are also responsible for cold-weather and rain gear. Because the weather in Great Smoky Mountains National Park is often unpredictable, volunteers must be prepared for a range of potential weather conditions.

For more information, read the Trails Forever volunteer directions on FOTS website and contact Adam Monroe,
adam_monroe@nps.gov or call 828-497-1949

Trails Forever accomplishments

Friends of the Smokies established the Trails Forever endowment in 2012, thanks to a matching gift from the Aslan Foundation in Knoxville.

Today, the endowment has grown to more than $6 million. The endowment funds a full-time trail crew in Great Smoky Mountains National Park to reconstruct and rehabilitate some of the park’s most used trails.

The Trails Forever crew has restored Rainbow Falls Trail, Alum Cave Trail, Chimney Tops Trail and Forney Ridge Trail.

You can donate to support Trails Forever restoration work.