Friday, July 1, 2016

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

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) seeks volunteers age 18 and over to help maintain the Appalachian Trail (A.T.) in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park as part of the 2016 Smokies Wilderness Elite Appalachian Trail (S.W.E.A.T.) Crew. A position on the S.W.E.A.T. Crew is physically demanding and 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 using fallen trees, rocks and other materials found near the Trail. Food, lodging, training, equipment and transportation to and from the work site are provided.

"The Appalachian Trail Conservancy encourages all hikers and Appalachian Trail supporters to get involved with a Trail Crew," said Sean Ogle, the ATC's Trail Resource Manager. "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 following morning, the crew enjoys a family-style breakfast, 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 while carrying 50- to 60-pound backpacks — the crew members establish 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.

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


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