Published On: Fri, Jul 19th, 2013

REI supports Smokies Trails Forever Program

Friends of the Smokies, and any hiker who has hiked the Forney Ridge trail by Clingmans Dome to spectacular mountain ridge views, are thankful to Trails Forever volunteers and the support the Smokies Trails Forever program receives from Recreational Equipment Inc. (REI). REI has donated $5,000 to support the Trails Forever crew and many dedicated volunteers to improve well-loved trails in Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GSMNP).

The Smokies Trails Forever program, in its fifth year of operation, continues needed trail improvements in GSMNP with highly trained trail building staff and a high rate of returning volunteers. Volunteers work one on one with experienced trail building staff to re-construct trails using sustainable materials in order to preserve the trail and protect the resources around the trail corridor.

Over the past few years, REI has funded trail reconstruction along Forney Ridge and Chimney Tops Trails, as well as a Trails Forever equipment trailer, facilitating tool and equipment storage helping each workday run more smoothly. REI continues to support GSMNP also by promoting volunteer opportunities with the Smokies Trails Forever program and other opportunities to learn about and assist GSMNP.

Smokies Trails Forever volunteers include people who have donated their time and skills with trail work in previous years, who volunteer with the Park in other ways, and still others who are volunteering in the Smokies for the first time. Some families spend their week vacation volunteering with the Trails Forever crew. Last year, volunteers worked alongside the highly skilled crew for more than 6,000 hours.

Info: www.friendsofthesmokies.org or call (828) 452-0720.

– Friends of the Smokies

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