A.T. Maintenance Volunteers Are Needed!
The Appalachian Trail Maintainers Committee (ATMC) of the Smoky Mountains Hiking Club (SMHC) maintains 72 miles of the Appalachian Trail (AT) in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and 30 miles in the Nantahala National Forest south of the Park. We receive major assistance from the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC), the National Park staff, US Forest Service staff as well as the Friends of the Smokies and other organizations.
We divide the trail into sections of one to three miles and assign Section Leaders who schedule their own maintenance trips, usually one-day outings. We also conduct one-day group work trips on the first Saturday of most months, March through November. We have a list of “Extra Crew” members who are notified when help is needed, either by a Section Leader or for the monthly one-day trips.
Basic maintenance includes cutting back brush and weeds to clear the trail corridor, cleaning out waterbars to permit effective drainage, and filling in washed-out areas around steps. (Special crews remove large blowdowns and perform other heavy work.) All Park maintenance is done with hand tools because the Park is maintained as a wilderness. Some tools are stashed at back country locations, but maintainers normally expect to carry in a tool or two in addition to their pack containing their personal food and gear. Any backpacking maintenance trips are made in compliance with Park requirements for permits, reservations, etc.
If you would enjoy these work trips, please sign up by completing this form. You may also call us at 931-224-5149. We will add your name to our list of maintainers and will notify you when a trip is planned. Experienced maintainer volunteers will lead the trips and will provide on-the-job training for new maintainers.
Join us! We welcome new volunteers at any level of experience. Trail maintenance is a rewarding experience and an excellent way to further your hiking enjoyment.