The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) is inviting volunteers, ages 18 and older, to join trail crews that will help repair and construct new sections of the famous Appalachian Trail (A.T.). No previous experience is necessary – just 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 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 various base camps between sessions. Trail crews tackle projects such as relocation, reconstruction, and bridge and shelter construction along the A.T. The 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 A.T.'s southern terminus in Springer Mountain, Georgia to Rockfish Gap in central Virginia. Volunteers work 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, Pa., the crew works on the A.T. 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 A.T. 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 A.T. 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 A.T. and Long Trail, and the Maine Trail Crew, which focuses on projects involving reconstruction and rockwork along 267 miles of the A.T. VLTP sessions begin July 4 and end August 12, and Maine Trail Crew sessions begin June 14 and end August 13.
To learn more about the ATC’s Trail Crews, visit www.appalachiantrail.org/crews.