Friends of the Smokies announced today on their website that they will be allocating $15,000 towards the improvement of the Forney Ridge Trail that connects the Clingmans Dome area with Andrews Bald in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Funds for this project are a result of strong sales from the Friends of the Smokies “black bear” license plates program.
Work on the two-mile section of the Forney Ridge Trail will take place in October and November, and will include rehabilitation of several of the worst sections of the trail, as identified in the last comprehensive trail inspection by park staff. The surface of the trail to Andrews Bald is littered with slabs of fractured rock, some of which will be used to build stone steps and waterbars to make the trail easier and safer to negotiate and to reduce erosion. The improvements will also include work on the bald itself in order to reduce impacts from social trails and to eliminate confusion for hikers.
This is great news. As I mentioned in my trail report, anyone at all familiar with this trail knows that the rocky terrain and a seemingly constant flow of water on the trail can make this a fairly rugged hike.
The project is part of a major new trails initiative being developed by the park and Friends of the Smokies. Anyone interested in volunteering to help with the trail improvements should contact Volunteers-in-Parks Coordinator Jeremy Sweat at 865-436-1711 or you can email him at: Jeremy_Sweat@nps.gov.
The trail will remain open to the public while the rehabilitation work takes place.
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