You are always welcome to join our weekly hiking outings in the beautiful, rugged Smokies with our experienced outing leaders. Or, try your hand at some high-elevation trail maintenance on the Appalachian Trail with experienced and friendly section leaders.
Today's SMHC offers many adventures and fun times for all kinds of people.. like you! We have easy hikes, hard hikes, backpacks, off-trails, photo contests, and cookouts, just to name a few things we do. Join us!
SMHC Outings and Events for November:
1 - Sat AT Work Trip
2 - Sun Dalton Gap Branch- Old A.T.- Parson Lead <OT - Difficult> CANCELLED
8 - Sat Soak Ash Creek to Old Settlers Trail (Easy)
15 - Sat The Walker Sisters' Home (Easy)
22 - Sat Blanket Mtn from Fighting Creek Gap <OT - Moderately Difficult>
28 - Fri Brady Mtn – Cumberland Trail (The Jim Bob Outing 2014!)
29 - Sat Courthouse Rock – Quilliams Cave
Here is our listing of November hiking outings, work outings, and Club-wide events. This includes trail descriptions, meeting places, leader contact information - everything you need to participate. You do not have to be a member to participate, and we welcome guests and visitors who are interested in the Club.
Challenges for SMHC Members in 2014
2014 will mark the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Smoky Mountains Hiking Club in 1924 and the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Wilderness Act in 1964. SMHC was organized in a large part to promote the protection of our Smoky Mountains through the establishment of a national park here. After that goal was reached, leaders of the club saw the need for a higher level of protection for the wilderness of the Smokies as was eloquently stated by Ernie Dickerman in his president’s message in 1950: “Linked with this increased appreciation of the human values of the unspoiled wilderness areas of our Mountains is an increased appreciation of the need to protect those wilderness areas, to preserve them inviolate so that those who come after us may know and love them too. We have the Park – thanks to the heroic work of many persons in earlier years – yet there are many pressures constantly busy which if their objectives were attained would effectively destroy the wilderness characteristics of this National Primeval Park. We propose in the coming year to make the preservation of the wilderness values of the Great Smoky Mountains an active and continuing part of the Club’s program.”
To commemorate these two significant anniversaries, the SMHC Board of Directors has elected to issue the following two challenges to club members:
1) To celebrate the 90th anniversary of SMHC, hike 90 miles of the more than 800 miles of maintained trails in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
2) To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act of 1964, hike 50 miles of the more than 100 miles of the Appalachian Trail maintained by SMHC.
Members who complete the required mileage of either challenge during 2014 will be eligible to receive a commemorative patch designed especially for that challenge. Report your hiking and to purchase your patches.
As a further challenge let’s all follow the lead of Ernie Dickerman, Harvey Broome, and all of the other past and present club leaders who have worked countless hours in their efforts to attain a higher level of protection for the wilderness of our beloved Smoky Mountains, and continue the climb to reach the designation of “Wilderness Area.”
Park Closes Whiteoak Sink Area to Protect Declining Bat Populations
9/27/14: Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials announced the closure of the Whiteoak Sink area effective now through March 31 to limit human disturbance to bat hibernacula and help hikers avoid interactions with bats. Park biologists will be monitoring the site throughout the winter collecting population, ecological and behavioral data that will inform resource managers developing a long-term protection plan. An extended closure through late spring may be recommended if the winter data suggests such an action would increase the chances for survival of a significant number of bats.
The Whiteoak Sink area is primarily accessed from the Schoolhouse Gap Trail between Townsend and Cades Cove. This closure includes the area bounded by Schoolhouse Gap Trail and Turkeypen Ridge Trail west to the park boundary. The Schoolhouse Gap and Turkeypen Ridge trails will remain open.
The SMHC Appalachian Trail Maintainers' Committee is actively seeking volunteers for AT maintenance activities.
Our group maintains 102 miles of the AT in the Smokies and the Nantahala National Forest. There are lots of ways to help out, ranging from big projects, such as trail relocations and shelter construction, to easy clipping and waterbar cleaning. You can contribute on whatever level you are ready for. We provide all needed tools and training. It's fun work out in the mountains and it is a vital part of making the Appalachian Trail experience a great one for both dayhikers and thru-hikers alike.
If you'd like to find out more about Appalachian Trail Maintainers Committee volunteer activities, contact us and sign up today.