Celebrate National Public Lands Day at the Smokies

Monday, September 19, 2016

Great Smoky Mountains National Park invites the public to join park staff on Saturday, September 24 for the 23rd annual celebration of National Public Lands Day. National Public Lands Day is the nation’s largest single-day volunteer effort to improve and enhance public lands across America. In recognition, the park is hosting a variety of service projects across the park including Clingmans Dome, Elkmont, and the Foothills Parkway West.

Participants are invited to participate on a trail rehabilitation project along the Forney Ridge Trail near Clingmans Dome where volunteers will work alongside the park trail crew digging out drainage culverts, adding soil to trail turnpikes, sloping trail tread, and naturalizing damaged trailside areas from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Volunteers will hike approximately 2 miles total over steep, rocky terrain. Park staff will also lead an exotic plant removal project at Elkmont where participants will help hand pull English Ivy, an invasive species, from natural areas from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon. Participants are also invited to participate in litter patrols at scenic overlooks along the Foothills Parkway West and Clingmans Dome area from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon.

Participants must RSVP for all projects as space is limited. More information on meeting locations for the specific projects will be provided at that time. To RSVP or receive more information, please contact Logan Boldon by email at logan_boldon@partner.nps.gov or phone at 865-436-1278. Participants should wear long pants, long sleeves, and sturdy closed-toed shoes for all projects. Gloves and work gear will be provided. All participants should bring lunch, water, rain gear, and sunscreen.

In addition to these service opportunities, several Leave No Trace volunteers will be stationed at Sugarlands Visitor Center and Oconaluftee Visitor Center to share Leave No Trace principals with visitors through hands-on activities and displays that help promote responsible recreational practices on our public lands. For more information on National Public Lands visit https://www.neefusa.org/public-lands-day.


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