Almost 350 volunteers and Great Smoky Mountains National Park staff got together on the evening of Saturday, March 4th, for the park’s annual volunteer recognition banquet at the Park Vista Hotel in Gatlinburg.
Last year, a total of 3,700 individuals donated more than 135,000 hours to the park, an increase of about 10,000 hours (7.4%) from 2009. The Smokies ranked first in the Southeast Region and fifth in the NPS for its volunteer service in 2010.
Recognition at the event ranged from three middle-schoolers who received Youth Presidential Service Awards for 50 hours of work at a visitor center, to hand-made glass tiles presented to six VIP’s who have tallied over 10,000 hours of lifetime service.
Volunteers at Great Smokies are integrated into virtually every phase of park operations from facility management to administration.
The event was sponsored by the Great Smoky Mountains Association, which funded both the banquet and the wide range of recognition items which were distributed to volunteers.
Thanks to all the volunteers that help make the Smokies special!!