In my blog post on Saturday I mentioned an extensive interview with Park Superintendent Dale Ditmanson in the most recent issue of Smokies Life Magazine.
In the interview, Ditmanson mentions the creation of a $4 Million Trails Forever Foundation which will be used to fund an annual trails improvement program. The foundation is considered to be a keystone component of the Park’s 75th Anniversary.
The proceeds from the foundation will go towards trail reconstruction, relocation of trails, building trails elevated on logs in order to carry them across wetlands, and installing new foot-logs and bridges across streams.
The first $2 million towards the $4 million Endowment has already been committed by the Knoxville-based ASLAN Foundation, which was founded by the late Lindsay Young, a Friends of the Smokies Charter Board Member. Friends of the Smokies plans to raise the additional $2 million in matching funds needed to create the Endowment and will then manage the funds in perpetuity.
Currently, there are two trail maintenance crews, one on the Tennessee side of the park, and the other in North Carolina. The endowment will be used to create a third crew, comprised of paid crew members and volunteers.
This third crew has already begun work on improvements for two trails; the Forney Ridge (Andrews Bald) and Ramsay Cascades Trails.
If you would like to volunteer on the Trails Forever crew, please contact Jeremy Sweat.
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