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The park will hold a volunteer work day Saturday.

While the Smokies, with a half million acres of forested terrain crisscrossed with 848 miles of trails, has dedicated, paid trail crews, "it's not enough," said Christine Hoyer, Smokies acting backcountry management specialist.

On Saturday, Asheville area businesses will donate a percentage of sales to support conservation in Western North Carolina. Local land trusts, such as the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy, work throughout the year to preserve productive farmland, scenic mountains and clean streams that are important economic drivers for the region.

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land to be used, in part, for public hiking trails.

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Converse Tan Rose Gold

The Blue Ridge Parkway does not have trail crews, since its maintenance staff has enough to do keeping up with mowing, road and building maintenance, so it relies heavily on volunteers, said park ranger Gail Fox."We're very lucky because just about all the trails on the parkway are maintained by the Carolina Mountain Club," she said.

The Carolina Mountain Club, the region's oldest hiking club, also does a mammoth job of building and maintaining some of the mightiest trails in the mountains including the Appalachian Trail, the Mountains to Sea Trail, many in the Smokies along the Parkway and in the wilderness areas. The club will hold a National Trails Day trail building event Saturday at Soco Gap on the Mountains to Sea Trail in Haywood County. Anyone with a sturdy back and work gloves is welcome.

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Converse Tan Rose Gold

To help visitors appreciate all the work they do, parkway rangers lead a variety of hikes in summer, including a hike to Devils Courthouse on Friday.

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Converse Tan Rose Gold

"When people come out, they learn just how much work goes into building these trails and keeping them in a hike able fashion," said Les Love, a trail crew leader with the CMC. "Nature doesn't really like to keep trails the way they are. She likes to fill them in and grow roots over them. We need to work hard to keep them open."

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"Especially when we Converse Tan Rose Gold talk about the Appalachian Trail, it's a volunteer effort. We have 71.6 miles of the AT in the park, which we manage with the Appalachian Trail Conservancy and the Smoky Mountain Hiking Club. You have two constant things to worry about when you're building trail water and hikers. Getting water off the trail and keeping hikers on the trail, and keeping trails sustainable for the long haul."

Celebrating land trusts

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It takes a work crew of about 20 volunteers about a year to build a new half mile of trail in the mountains, Love said. The new section between Soco and Balsam gaps should be finished by the end of next year near, he said.

In the mountains of Western North Carolina, hikers Converse Ct All Star Ox Black Leather Womens Trainers

have nearly 3,000 miles of public trails, including some 1,600 miles in Pisgah and Nantahala national forests, more than 800 miles in Great Smoky Mountains National Park and 369 miles along the Blue Ridge Parkway. There are many more miles in the state parks and some 80 miles in the DuPont State Recreational Forest.

Give thanks for Western NC trails

The Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy will hold free guided hikes in the Highlands of Roan, seen here, as part of its June Jamboree on June 14.

In keeping with the "thank you" theme of National Trails Day, the first Saturday in June is also National Land Trust Day, started about 12 years ago in North Carolina to recognize the vital role land trusts play in protecting Converse All Star Hi Black Skull Lace Print

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The following businesses will donate a percentage of sales to the conservancy: Mast General Store (Asheville and Waynesville), Second Gear (West Asheville and downtown), New Morning Gallery, Bellagio Art to Wear, Bellagio Everyday, King Daddy's Chicken Waffles, Laughing Seed Caf, the Weinhaus, Jack of the Wood, Wild Birds Unlimited, Mobilia and Four Corners Home.

That's why the first Saturday in June is set aside each year as National Trails Day a time to celebrate, show appreciation for, and lovingly give back to the hiking trails we so often take for granted.

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a lot of trails to maintain. A big part of National Trails Day is raising awareness for the herculean effort it takes to build and keep up trails, much of which takes volunteer labor.

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