Smokies Wilderness Elite Appalachian Trail Crew

Monday, April 27, 2009

The Smokies Wilderness Elite Appalachian Trail Crew (S.W.E.A.T.) is the primary steward for the 30 most remote miles of the Appalachian Trail in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Between June 1 and August 20 of this year, volunteers can join SWEAT and work in the heart of the largest and most beautiful wilderness area in the east.

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) trains professional trail crew leaders and provides the tools, food and equipment for volunteer trail crews to spend 5 days rehabilitating the AT in the Smoky Mountains.

These volunteer vacations (at no cost) are full of adventure, fun and excitement as crews go deep into the backcountry of the Smokies to dig new trail, remove blowdown, build drainage structures and cut back encroaching vegetation in order to make the Appalachian Trail safe and open for hikers.

The word “Elite” isn’t just part of the “SWEAT” acronym either. The ATC only accepts applicants with extensive backpacking/backcountry experience. Applicants must be able to meet rigorous fitness qualifications as well. Long and sometimes strenuous backpacking trips, with considerable elevation change will be required to access work sites. There may be long day hikes throughout the week as well. Additionally, you must be willing to camp in unlikely and cramped spots.

If you’re looking to give back to Great Smoky Mountains National Park on its 75th birthday, there’s no better way than to roll up your sleeves and get dirty while helping to manage and protect America’s first national scenic trail for future generations.

For more information and to find an application, please click here.

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