Volunteers from the Partners of the Joyce Kilmer Slickrock Wilderness joined forces with the Cheoah Ranger District for a major work day on April 29 at the Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest.
More than 26 people removed hundreds of vines and invasive plants from the Memorial Loop Trail and fallen trees and brush from the entrance road. They also rehabilitated and greatly improved the ADA Accessible Picnic Area by removing old timbers, regrading and installing new timbers, and adding several tons of fill for the picnic site.
Volunteers donated more than 160 hours of labor for this project, in addition to the efforts of the Cheoah Ranger District personnel.
Through a combination of grants and private donations, the Partners provided a new entrance sign and rock base for the parking area at the Memorial Forest. Major funding came from MountainWise, a group funding healthy lifestyle initiatives in the area, and a Boots On The Ground Grant from the National Wilderness Stewardship Alliance, which provides funds for a variety of trail projects. Private donations of nearly $2,000 also helped fund the various projects on this work day.
The Partners of the Joyce Kilmer Slickrock Wilderness, Inc. is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to assisting the Forest Service in maintenance and upkeep of the Memorial Forest and surrounding wilderness, as well as nearby areas. The Partners also raise funds for special projects for the area.
Dedicated in 1936, this is the 80th Anniversary of the Memorial Forest. Hosting approximately 25,000-30,000 visitors annually, it is managed by the Nantahala National Forest as designated Wilderness. The Memorial Loop Trail is a two-mile long footpath through the "big trees" for which the Memorial Forest is known. For more information see http://go.usa.gov/cuHQx.
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