Sunday, April 18, 2010

Volunteers needed for S.W.E.A.T. Crews

Volunteers are needed for extended work trips on the Appalachian Trail in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park this summer.

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy, which maintains the 70-mile stretch of the AT through the Smokies, runs volunteer trail crews every year known as “Smokies Wilderness Elite Appalachian Trail Crew,” or S.W.E.A.T.

Tools, equipment and food are provided free. All volunteers have to do is show up. The leadership staff teaches trail construction techniques, Leave-no-Trace practices and safe use of trail tools.

S.W.E.A.T. crews work six days in the field arriving on the afternoon before their work session for dinner and orientation. A long (as much as 10 miles) and sometimes strenuous backpacking trip, with considerable elevation change will be required to access the work site. Additionally, the crew week may also require long day hikes. Campsites will likely not be optimal; willingness to camp in unlikely and cramped spots is crucial.

“If you ever wanted to give back to the A.T. and you don’t mind some hard work while having fun, the S.W.E.A.T. crew is the ticket,” said Andrew Downs, trail resource manager with the ATC in the region.

Six-day work trips will run from June 6 to August 17th. The need is particularly great this year due to the harsh winter, which pummeled trails.

For more information and to apply, please click here.

Jeff Detailed information on trails in the Smoky Mountains; includes trail descriptions, key features, pictures, video, maps, elevation profiles, news, hiking gear store, and more.

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