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Park Announces New Smokies Service Days Volunteer Opportunities

Park Announces New Smokies Service Days Volunteer Opportunities

Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials are excited to announce a new opportunity for the public to participate in service projects across the park.

Park staff coordinated Smokies Service Days on Saturdays through October 28, 2017. Individuals and groups are invited to sign up for any of the scheduled service projects that interest them including unique opportunities to help care for park cemeteries, campgrounds, trails, roadsides, rivers, and native plant gardens.

This new volunteer program will help complete much needed work across the park and is ideal for those seeking to fulfill community service requirements including students, scout troops, civic organizations, visitors, families, and working adults with busy schedules. Each project will provide tasks appropriate for a wide range of ages. Volunteer projects will begin at 9 a.m. and last until noon on Saturday mornings. In addition, each project will be followed by an optional enrichment adventure to immerse participants in the abundant natural and cultural resources of the park.

Tools and safety gear, including gloves and high visibility safety vests, will be provided by park staff. Participants will be required to wear long sleeve shirts, long pants, closed-toe shoes, and bring water. Volunteers planning to stay for the optional enrichment activity must also bring a sack lunch.

Those interested in volunteering need to contact Project Coordinator, Logan Boldon, at 865-436 -1278 or [email protected] at least three days prior to the scheduled Smokies Service Days event date to register.

Smokies Service Days Opportunities

Smokies Service Days Gardening

August 5, 2017: Gardening

Become a Weed Warrior in the Battle of the Beds! Don a pair of gloves and remove unwanted vegetation from the flowerbeds in front of the Oconaluftee Visitor Center.

  • Meeting Location: Oconaluftee Visitor Center, North Carolina
  • Time: 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM
  • Option: Stick around for the Back Porch Old-Time Music Jam! Kick back and enjoy mountain music, or bring an acoustic instrument and join the jam! Music starts at 1:00 PM. Stay as long as you like!

Smokies Service Days Cemetary Rehabilitation

August 12, 2017: Cemetery Rehabilitation

Help preserve part of the Smokies past as we spread grass seed to assist with erosion control, clear grave markers of encroaching vegetation, and record inscriptions at Old Elkmont Cemetery!

  • Meeting Location: Old Elkmont Cemetery, Tennessee
  • Time: 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM
  • Option: After a picnic lunch, take a stroll back through time as we explore the historic ghost town of Elkmont and venture to Avent Cabin! The hike is an easy 2 miles roundtrip. 12:00 PM – 3:00 PM.

August 26, 2017: Campground Clean-Up

Having a fire is a camper’s delight! Help clean out fire pits and perform light campground maintenance to prepare for the enjoyment of future campers!

  • Meeting Location: Elkmont Campground, Tennessee
  • Time: 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM
  • Option: Let’s have a picnic at Huskey Branch Falls! We’ll take a hike along Little River to the falls and enjoy the beautiful scenery as we eat! The hike is a moderate 4.3 miles roundtrip. 12:00 PM – 4:00 PM.

Smokies Service Days Litter Patrol

September 9, 2017: Campground Clean-Up

Having a fire is a camper’s delight! Help clean out fire pits and perform light campground maintenance to prepare for the enjoyment of future campers!

  • Meeting Location: Smokemont Campground, North Carolina
  • Time: 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM
  • Option: Let’s have a picnic at Chasteen Creek Falls! We’ll take a hike out to the falls and enjoy the beautiful scenery as we eat! The hike is a moderate 4 miles roundtrip. 12:00 PM – 4:00 PM.

Smokies Service Days Trail Restoration

September 30, 2017: Trail Rehabilitation

It’s National Public Lands Day! Join people across the country in the largest, single-day volunteer effort in honor and celebration of the public lands that give us so much! Mark your calendars, and stay tuned for our project announcement!

October 7, 2017: Farm Maintenance

Pretend you’re a pioneer and join us for a day on the farm! We’ll tackle a variety of tasks, including weeding, cleaning, sweeping and dusting of historic structures, and picking up debris.

  • Meeting Location: Oconaluftee Visitor Center, North Carolina
  • Time: 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM
  • Option: After a picnic lunch, enjoy a Ranger led behind-the-scenes tour of the Mountain Farm Museum! 12:00 PM – 2:00 PM.

October 14, 2017: Vegetation Management

English Ivy is an aggressive invader in the park that threatens native plant species. Help remove this exotic vine and protect the native plant communities!

  • Meeting Location: Twin Creeks Science Center, Tennessee
  • Time: 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM
  • Option: After a picnic at the Science Center, we’ll take a stroll along Twin Creeks Trail to the Noah “Bud” Ogle Place to explore historic buildings and learn about one of the first families to settle the Gatlinburg area! The hike is an easy 2 miles roundtrip. 12:00 PM – 3:00 PM.

October 21, 2017: Historic Preservation and Campground Clean-Up

Help with maintenance of historic buildings or lend a hand in the campground cleaning out fire pits and gathering trash while enjoying the remote atmosphere of Cataloochee Valley!

  • Meeting Location: Cataloochee Campground, North Carolina
  • Time: 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM
  • Option: The story of the elk in Great Smoky Mountains is one of sadness, hope, and renewal. Learn all about these majestic creatures and their successful reintroduction into the park after a picnic lunch! 12:00 PM – 2:00 PM.

October 28, 2017: Litter Patrol and Stream Restoration

Join us for the “Deep Creep!” Wear a spooky Halloween costume and help clean up the picnic area! Then we’ll jump in the creek to dismantle visitor-made rock dams to improve stream flow and aquatic habitat for all kinds of creatures!

  • Meeting Location: Deep Creek Picnic Area, North Carolina
  • Time: 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM
  • Option: After a picnic lunch, we’ll explore the waterfalls of the Deep Creek area: Juney Whank Falls, Tom Branch Falls, and Indian Creek Falls! The hike is an easy 2 miles roundtrip. 12:00 PM – 3:00 PM.

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