“Elite” is the operative word. This A.T. crew is arguably the most challenging since it addresses trail maintenance issues deep within the most remote backcountry areas of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
The crew backpacks in 6–11 miles over terrain with several thousand feet in elevation change to reach their camping and work sites, carrying everything they need for their six-day hitch in the field —from gear, tools, and safety equipment to shelter and sustenance. Field camp and work site locations are variable from session to session, so volunteers who join us for more than one session rarely see the same parts of the Park twice.
Pack weight can be as much as 55–65 lbs. for the hike in, while hand-carrying tools. Once at the field camp, volunteers will have long day hikes to reach the project areas where they will trim the trail of annual growth, clean drains or water bars, repair sidehill, and rely on their resourceful application of found materials to build steps, water bars, or other erosion control features. On the sixth day, the crew hikes out from the field, cleans gear and tools, and has dinner followed by a recognition ceremony.
Experienced backpackers with recent backcountry experience are welcome to apply for this strenuous crew. For more information on this crew, and for Crew Fit, a training program available to participants of this crew, please visit the SWEAT Crew page. Volunteers with interest but lacking extensive backcountry experience are encouraged to apply for the Konnarock Trail Crew.
Due to the challenging nature of the crew, volunteers interested in this exciting adventure will be sent an additional questionnaire after expressing interest using the form below.