GSMNP (press release)—In celebration of the Chimney Tops Trail restoration completion, Great Smoky Mountains National Park hosted a recognition event to thank park partners, crew, donors and volunteers in their support of the trail project. The event recognized the Friends of the Smokies, Aslan Foundation and the National Park Service Trails Forever Crew.
The brief recognition event was followed by an opportunity to hike the trail with Trails Forever Crew members to learn first-hand about rehabilitation techniques.
In 2012, Friends of the Smokies established the Trails Forever endowment thanks to a matching gift from the Aslan Foundation in Knoxville. Today, the $5 million endowment funds a full-time trail crew in Great Smoky Mountains National Park to reconstruct and rehabilitate some of the park’s most impacted trails.
The Trails Forever program provides the opportunity for a highly skilled trail crew to focus reconstruction efforts on high use and high priority trails in the park including Alum Cave Trail and the recently restored Chimney Tops Trail and Forney Ridge Trail. The program also provides a mechanism for volunteers to work alongside the trail crew on these complex trail projects to assist in making lasting improvements to preserve the trails for future generations.
Chimney Tops Trail reconstruction highlights:
- 367 rock steps constructed (each weighing ~ 300 lbs each)
- 291 locust log steps constructed (each weighing ~ 80 pounds each)
- 700 square feet of locust retaining walls constructed
- 820 linear feet of rock and locust turnpike constructed
- 1,600 linear feet of uphill drainage ditches created
- 40,000 cubic feet of rock crush fill (6 million pounds!) made on site by hand to harden trail tread and fill trail structures.
- 51,000 cubic feet of trail tread (7 1/2 million pounds!) moved along trail corridor to improve drainage.
- 53 hazard trees removed