A.T. Volunteers Wanted for Hard Work & No Pay

Published Aug 16, 2014

Appalachian Trail Conservancy's Headquarters in Harpers Ferry, WV ~~ Photograph by Robert Sutherland

Appalachian Trail Conservancy's Headquarters in Harpers Ferry, WV ~~ Photograph by Robert Sutherland

If that headline of "hard work & no pay" didn't scare you off, you might have what it takes to be a Trail Crew volunteer on the Appalachian Trail (AT).

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) was founded almost 90-years ago by volunteers striving to build a continuous footpath along the Appalachian Mountains. Today, ATC's mission is to manage the Appalachian Trail -- all 2,185.3 miles stretching from Georgia to Maine -- and to preserve its natural beauty and priceless heritage.

ATC's Director of Marketing and Communications Javier Folgar is inviting volunteers, ages 18 and older, to join Trail Crews that will help repair and construct new sections of the famous Appalachian Trail. No previous experience is necessary. What you will need, however, is a desire to work hard, live in the backcountry and have a great time among new friends.

The ATC's all-volunteer Trail Crews are led by paid trail crew professionals who teach volunteers trail construction, stewardship and Leave No Trace skills during their multi-day adventure.

The ATC provides food, tools and the equipment necessary to get the job completed. Multi-week volunteers are welcome to stay at ATC's various base camps between sessions.

Trail Crews tackle projects such as relocation, reconstruction, and bridge and shelter construction along the AT. Crews are active every year from April through October on projects located from Maine to Georgia. Trail Crew projects, which may last for a week or more, are planned and completed in cooperation with Trail-maintaining clubs and agency partners, such as the National Park Service and the U.S. Forest Service.

Konnarock, the ATC's flagship crew, tackles projects involving trail construction from the AT's southern terminus in Springer Mountain, Georgia to Rockfish Gap in central Virginia. Volunteers put in a five-day week in the field and return to base camp for a celebratory dinner the evening of the fifth day. This year, crew weeks begin May 7 and end August 13, with work sites varying from Grayson Highlands State Park in Virginia to Little Rock Knob in Tennessee.

The Mid-Atlantic Crew is also searching for volunteers for its spring, summer and fall sessions. Based at an old farmstead in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, the Crew works on the AT from Rockfish Gap in Virginia to the New York-Connecticut state line. Sessions begin April 3 and end October 27.

For adventurous volunteers, the Smokies Wilderness Elite Appalachian Trail Crew (S.W.E.A.T.) leads workers into the backcountry of Great Smoky Mountains National Park to work at the highest elevations along the AT. Six-day sessions begin June 7 and run through August 26.

Those who wish to volunteer in the Smokies may also consider the Rocky Top Trail Crew, which works exclusively along 70 miles of the AT following the ridge crest from Davenport Gap to Fontana Dam, North Carolina. Rocky Top Crew sessions begin August 30 and end October 25.

Additional volunteer opportunities include the Vermont Long Trail Patrol (VLTP), which works on heavy construction projects on hiking trails in Vermont, including the co-aligned AT and Long Trail, and the Maine Trail Crew, which focuses on projects involving reconstruction and rockwork along 267 miles of the AT. VLTP sessions begin July 4 and end August 12, and Maine Trail Crew sessions begin June 14 and end August 13.

Thousands of people have given to the Trail for your benefit. You're invited to work for the benefit of others ... and yourself ... on an Appalachian Trail Crew.

Click Here for Appalachian Trail Crew Information

Tags: Events, Appalachian Trail Conservancy, Appalachian Trail, Hiking, News, Appalachian Trail Clubs, Maine Appalachian Trail Club, Appalachian Mountain Club, Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy, Potomac Appalachian Trail Club, Susquehanna Appalachian Trail Club, Green Mountain Club, Roanoke Appalachian Trail Club, and Georgia Appalachian Trail Club

About the Author Robert Sutherland:
Robert Sutherland is a travel writer enjoying life. Robert has two adult daughters and six grandchildren.
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