Work in the wild: Appalachian Trail needs crews for upkeep
BLACKSBURG, Va. — The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) is searching for volunteers, ages 18 and older, to help maintain sections along the Appalachian Trail (A.T.). No previous trail experience is necessary — just a desire to work hard, live in the backcountry and have a great time among new friends.
Konnarock, the ATC’s flagship crew, recently completed the first half of their season and are searching for additional volunteers to work from July 5 through Aug. 13. The Konnarock Crew tackles projects involving trail construction from the A.T.’s southern terminus in Springer Mountain, Georgia to Rockfish Gap in central Virginia. Trail construction involves working with a team of volunteers, using hand tools and working eight-hour days.
The Mid-Atlantic Crew is also searching for volunteers this fall. Based at an old farmstead in Carlisle, Penns., the crew works on the A.T. from Rockfish Gap in Virginia to the New York-Connecticut state line. This is an eight-week program running from Aug. 30 through Oct. 22.
For both the Konnarock and Mid-Atlantics Crews, volunteers arrive on the Wednesday afternoon before their work week for a dinner and mandatory orientation session and work a five-day week in the field, from Thursday through Monday.
For more adventurous volunteers, the Smokies Wilderness Elite Appalachian Trail Crew (S.W.E.A.T.) leads volunteers into the backcountry of Great Smoky Mountains National Park to work at the highest elevations along the A.T. Volunteer opportunities are available now until Aug. 18.
The ATC’s all-volunteer trail crews are led by paid trail crew professionals who teach volunteers trail stewardship and Leave No Trace skills during the 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 our various base camps between sessions.
Trail crews tackle projects such as relocation, reconstruction and bridge and shelter construction along the A.T. The all-volunteer crews are active every year, from May 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. The ATC’s Trail Crew program is supported by La Sportiva and Mountain Khakis.
To learn more about the ATC’s Trail Crews, visit www.appalachiantrail.org/crews.