Fiery Gizzard reroute continues, volunteers needed

Despite the wet, cold weather, work is steadily moving forward to reroute the Fiery Gizzard Trail on the Cumberland Plateau, but crews need some helping hands.

The Friends of South Cumberland State Park just received a $2,000 Tennessee Trails Association grant that will pay for a heaving-lifting system. Park rangers will use the system to move large rocks, bridge lumber and other trail-building materials on the treacherous, steep terrain of the Southern Cumberland Plateau in Grundy County, Tenn.

The 13-mile Fiery Gizzard Trail, part of South Cumberland State Park, draws 3,000 to 4,000 users a month. It has been listed in Backpacker magazine as one of the top 25 hiking trails in the U.S. and the sixth best trail for fall foliage, according to park officials.

The rerouting will move the trail off private land its owner wants to sell. In 2014, the owner told South Cumberland State Park officials he planned to close the portion of the trail on his property by Dec. 1, 2015. Hence the need for the reroute.

Armed with the grant-funded equipment, workers on the rocky mountainsides are using a system with “all the cables, trolleys, pulleys and accessories that would allow the hoist to be used to its full potential across much greater distances,” the friends group vice president said in a statement on the grant.

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