Volunteers sought for Appalachian Trail Crew
The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) invites volunteers, 18 and over, to help maintain the Appalachian Trail (A.T.) in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park as part of the Smokies Wilderness Elite Appalachian Trail (S.W.E.A.T) Crew for the 2014 season. These particular positions are physically demanding and are 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 5 miles from the nearest road. Crewmembers 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 are provided.
"The Appalachian Trail Conservancy encourages all hikers and Appalachian Trail supporters to get involved with a Trail Crew," said Leanna Joyner, 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 ATC 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 the 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 6,000 feet.
Sessions with availability in the 2014 S.W.E.A.T. season are:
Session 1: June 7-12
Session 2: June 17-22
Session 4: July 6-11
Session 5: July 16-21
Session 6: July 26-30
Session 8: Aug. 13-17
Session 9: Aug. 22-26
For more information about the ATC’s S.W.E.A.T Crew program or to volunteer, visit www.appalachiantrail.org/crews.