Note: This story was updated at 10:40 a.m. Nov. 26.
Y-12’s employee-led Help to the Smokies team tacked another 154 hours onto their already massive volunteer service record at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park during their annual volunteer work day on November 8. Since its start, the volunteer team has contributed about 14,000 hours in the Park.
Some 22 volunteers assisted park staff in maintenance and refurbishment of Loop B campsites at the Cosby Campground. The volunteer team performed general restoration activities for 31 individual campsites. These activities included elevating, leveling, and resetting 31 picnic tables, distributing and applying 85 tons of gravel covering to 26 campsites, and leveling selected camp fire rings.
The group performed similar restoration duties last year on Loop A. The volunteers also removed and replaced 10 existing picnic tables from the Cosby Picnic Area Pavilion with new environmentally friendly tables.
Since 1996, hundreds of employees from the Y-12 National Security Complex and Oak Ridge National Laboratory, along with their friends and family, have lent a hand to Y-12’s Help the Smokies team to improve picnic areas and campsites, including making sites more accessible to those with disabilities. The group also constructed the Cades Cove Loop orientation shelter and a 26-by-90-foot greenhouse at the Twin Creek Experiment Station.
Al Roberson of Y-12’s Uranium Processing Facility project has led the team for eight years and says he still feels as strongly about helping maintain the park as when he joined the volunteer project 18 years ago.
“This park has given me and my family hours of enjoyment,” he said. “I want to see my children and future generations experience that same beauty and majesty of our national park.”
Here is a press release and more photos from Great Smoky Mountains National Park:
Volunteers Continue 18-year Tradition of Service in Cosby
Y-12’s Help the Smokies team continued their 18-year tradition of stewardship in Great Smoky Mountains National Park by renovating 26 campsites at Cosby Campground. Volunteers from the Y-12 National Security Complex and Oak Ridge National Laboratory have donated over 14,000 hours of service to the park including over 300 hours in 2014.
Volunteers elevated, leveled, and reset 31 picnic tables using over 85 tons of gravel in 26 different campsites. The team also repaired campfire rings at the campsites. In addition to their work in the campground, the team replaced several picnic tables in the Cosby Picnic Pavilion.
“Through this unique partnership, we have been able to accomplish a variety of complex projects pairing their highly skilled volunteers with our park staff,” said Acting Superintendent Clayton Jordan. “We appreciate their ongoing support, which allows us to better care for facilities serving thousands of visitors annually.”
Over the last 18 years, the volunteer group has completed similar campground and picnic area renovations at Elkmont, Cades Cove, Chimneys, and Metcalf Bottoms. They also aided in the construction of the Cades Cove Loop Road orientation shelter, reassembled of a 26’x90’ greenhouse at the Twin Creeks Natural Resources Center, and coordinated temporary storage for the park’s cultural resource collection at facilities in Oak Ridge.
“The park has given me and my family hours of enjoyment,” said Al Roberson, Help the Smokies Team Leader. “I want to see my children and future generations experience the same beauty and majesty of our national park.”
For more information about how groups can volunteer in the park, visit the park website at http://www.nps.gov/grsm/supportyourpark/volunteer.htm.