“Fall into Volunteerism with Smokies Service Days” start this weekend.

By Meghan Overdeep
October 23, 2020
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Credit: Sean Pavone/Getty Images

The most-visited national park in the country could do with some sprucing up. 

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is kicking off its annual “Fall into Volunteerism with Smokies Service Days” this weekend and is looking for volunteers to help care for the national treasure.

The park will be hosting single-day events on Saturdays from October 24 through November 1. Park staff will lead the volunteer days that will provide “a unique, hands-on opportunity to help care for park campgrounds, historic buildings, and natural resources.”

Park spokeswoman Dana Soehn told the Citizen Times that COVID-19 precautions will be in place, including limiting of group sizes "to ensure that individuals and 'bubble groups' have a safe-distance workspace," and social distancing. Masks will also be encouraged.

"Upkeep of heavily used areas is an ongoing challenge. 'Smokies Service Day' volunteers provide much needed support with the maintenance of visitor use resources at picnic areas, campgrounds and visitor centers," Soehn said. "They also assist with trail and site restoration projects."

Each project will last for two to four hours and involve tasks appropriate for a range of ages and skills, but some have age restrictions. Tools and safety gear, including gloves and high visibility safety vests, will be provided.

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The following dates are available:

October 24: Green Thumb Gardening, 9:30 a.m.–12 p.m., Oconaluftee Visitor Center. Ages 15 and older.

October 31:  The Deep Creep Litter Clean-Up, 10 a.m.–12 p.m., Deep Creek Picnic Area. All ages.

November 7: Historic Landscape Management in Daisy Town, 9 a.m.–12 p.m., Elkmont, Tennessee. Ages 15 and older.

November 14: Vegetation Management at Historic Voorheis Estate, 10 a.m.–1 p.m., Twin Creeks Science Center, Tennessee. Ages 12 and older. 

November 21: Campground Clean-Up, 9 a.m.–1 p.m. at Smokemont Campground. Ages 10 and older.

To register, please email Project Coordinator, Madison Ficca at madison_ficca@partner.nps.gov prior to the scheduled event date. Please put “SSD Registration” in the subject line.