Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Great Smoky Mountains National Park needs more volunteers at Clingmans Dome Information Center

If you would like to help park visitors at the Clingmans Dome Information Center which at 6,300 feet and is often in or above the clouds, here is your chance as the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is in need of about a dozen volunteers to help out.

The volunteers will be needed from May through November 30th to help provide park information to visitors and assist in trip planning including giving directions in the Clingmans Dome Information Center which also has a bookstore area managed by the Great Smoky Mountains Association (GSMA).

The Volunteers needed would be working alongside GSMA employees and will need to be able to work at least one 4 hour shift per week, 11 am to 3 pm. Park Volunteers are most needed for shifts from Friday through Sunday, but help is needed during Monday - Thursday as well.

The information center is relatively new opening in 2010. The building itself was originally constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps and before it was turned into the Clingmans Dome Information Center and bookstore, it was a comfort station.

Water quality issues required that the national park switch to vault toilets so that rather than the waste be treated high atop the mountain, it could be pumped out and treated elsewhere where there would be less environmental impact.

While the vault toilets where installed in the parking, the original bathrooms were completely overhauled and turned into the useful building that you see now in its place.

"In the past, visitors to this popular destination did not have a chance to obtain information on their high elevation visit or have questions answered," said Park Superintendent Dale Ditmanson. "Now with the help of volunteers staffing the center, visitors can inquire and learn about the spruce fir ecosystem and the impacts of invasive insects, such as the balsam woolly adelgid, and air quality."

While Clingmans Dome does not see the amount of visitation that the Sugarlands Visitor Center or Oconaluftee does, it is vitally important to park visitors and through hikers along the Appalachian Trail.

Training for Volunteers will be held from 9:00 am until 4:00 pm on Friday, May 17th. To sign up for training or for more information, contact Florie Takaki Monday - Fridays at (828)497-1906 or by email her at Florie_Takaki@nps.gov.

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