Local Students Help with Elkmont Historic District Project at Smokies National Park

Great Smoky Mountains National Park Rangers received help from local high school students in Elkmont to plant native trees. Recently, 19 students from Blount, Sevier, Cocke, and Knox Counties planted more than 400 trees in areas where cabins were removed along Jakes Creek in the Elkmont Historic District.

By planting the native trees and shrubs, students are helping to restore the montane alluvial forest in Elkmont. Students planted red maples, white oaks, red oaks, redbuds, black gums, hackberries, and false indigo shrubs.

“The soil was rocky, and rain would come and go, but spirits were high,” said Resource Education Park Ranger Julianne Geleynse. “As one student said, ‘This is one of the most meaningful things I’ve done in my entire high school experience.’”

In February, park officials announced that work was underway in Elkmont to preserve four historic structures and to remove 29 other structures along Little River Trail and Jakes Creek Trail in the Elkmont Historic District. The park crew has completed the preservation of the Mayo Servants Quarters and is currently working on the Mayo Cabin. To date, all structures located along the Little River Trail slated for demolition have been removed.

Crews are still working on Jakes Creek Trail, but suspended work during the Memorial Day holiday and Firefly Viewing Event. Demolition work will resume on Monday, June 12. The Jakes Creek Trail will be closed from the Trailhead to the junction with the Cucumber Gap Trail to all use Monday through Friday from June 12, 2017 through June 30, 2017. All campsites/shelters in the backcountry will remain open and can be accessed using routes that do not include the closed section of the Jakes Creek Trail. The trail will be fully open on Saturdays and Sundays throughout the work project.

For more information about this project, please visit the park website.


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