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Trail Keeper Volunteer Program Expanding at the Big South Fork

Oneida, Tennessee:  The Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area’s Trail Keeper program is expanding and needs volunteers for 2017.  The program is a volunteer partnership for people who love the park’s trails and want to help take care of them.  The goal of the program is to provide an extended presence in the backcountry and at the same time provide Big South Fork’s staff with information on trail conditions.

The program has just completed its second year, and there are now more than 70 different trails available for adoption.  Trail Keepers are expected to hike, bike or horse ride their adopted trail at least four times during the calendar year, report on overall trail conditions, pick up any trash, and submit a trail condition report after each hike.  Being a Trail Keeper does not involve heavy trail maintenance or the use of any kind of power equipment.  Trail Keepers may use a small handsaw to cut out small trees that are down across the trail and may move branches and do light maintenance by hand.  Individuals who fulfill the duties of a Trail Keeper over a year’s time get first choice on which trail(s) they want to take care of during the following year.

“There are so many people who love to hike, bike, and ride the trails at the Big South Fork.  With more than 400 miles of trails to take care of, this program is a great way for folks who have a special interest in a particular trail to help keep it in great shape,” said Niki Stephanie Nicholas, park superintendent.

To volunteer to be a Big South Fork Trail Keeper or to learn more about the Big South Fork Trail Keeper program, go to or call Effie Houston, the park’s volunteer coordinator, at (423) 569-9778.

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