Monday, June 1, 2015

Volunteers Needed for Appalachian Trail Crew in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) seeks volunteers, 18 and over, to help maintain the Appalachian Trail in Great Smoky Mountains National Park as part of the Smokies Wilderness Elite Appalachian Trail (S.W.E.A.T) Crew for the 2015 season. A position on the S.W.E.A.T. Crew is physically demanding and is designed for experienced hikers who love to work hard, live in the backcountry, and create lasting friendships.

S.W.E.A.T. Crew is a mobile group that focuses on trail maintenance in the heart of the Smokies on sections more than five miles from the nearest road. Crew members carry tools, water, food, and camping supplies to support their work. Each session lasts six days in the field where the crew focuses on clearing the A.T. and repairing it with materials they find. Food, lodging, training, equipment and transportation to and from the work site is provided.

"The Appalachian Trail Conservancy encourages all hikers and Appalachian Trail supporters to get involved with a Trail Crew," said Chris Binder, the ATC's trail specialist. "These all-volunteer crews are instrumental in completing large-scale projects along the Trail."

Members of the S.W.E.A.T. Crew arrive at the ATC’s base camp the day before their crew session begins to meet the professional crew leaders, prepare for the work trip and check out any gear they need. The next day the crew enjoys a family-style breakfast and loads up in an ATC vehicle and drives to a nearby trailhead in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. After a challenging hike in, often up to 10 miles long while carrying a 50- to 60-pound backpack, the crew establishes the campsite they will work out of for the next five days. The crew repairs, reconstructs, and maintains some of the most isolated and stunning sections of the A.T., often working at elevations of more than 6,000 feet for the entire work week.

2015 S.W.E.A.T. Crew Calendar:

Session 1 - June 8 to 13, 2015
Session 2 - June 18 to 23, 2015
Session 3 - June 28 to July 3, 2015
Session 4 - July 8 to 13, 2015
Session 5 - July 18 to 23, 2015
Session 6 - July 28 to August 2, 2015
Session 7 - August 7 to 12, 2015
Session 8 - August 18 to 22, 2015

For more information about the ATC’s S.W.E.A.T Crew program, or to volunteer, please visit:


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