National Park Sign
July 20, 2023

If you always wanted to get involved with Great Smoky Mountains National Park and have some extra time on your hands, you’ll be happy to know that the park offers plenty of exciting volunteer opportunities! This is a chance to help with a variety of unique and fulfilling tasks throughout the Smokies, ranging from trail maintenance to roadside assistance! Here are the top 4 things to know about becoming a National Park Volunteer in the Smoky Mountains:

1. Who Can Volunteer in the National Park

junior rangers walking along a trail in the great smoky mountains national park

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is always looking for volunteers to help maintain the park and provide assistance to visitors! There are a wide variety of programs available for all ages, including many projects that welcome kids and young adults to join! Each of the volunteer programs designate the minimum age requirement and any special instructions. One of the most popular programs is the Smokies Service Days Program, which offers single-day service projects and learning adventures on Saturdays. Some of the past activities have included gardening, campground clean-ups, litter pick-up and trail rehabilitation work.

2. How to Apply for a Volunteer Position

Another one of the top things to know about becoming a National Park Volunteer in the Smoky Mountains is how to apply for a position! You simply need to complete a Volunteer Application for Natural Resources Agency, providing your name, address and contact information. You’ll also select the volunteer work categories that interest you, as well as any qualifications that could be beneficial to your volunteer work. There are a few other questions too, such as your availability, physical limitations and volunteer experience. The completed application should be mailed to the following: Parkwide Volunteer Coordinator, Great Smoky Mountains National Park,
107 Park Headquarters Drive, Gatlinburg, Tennessee 37738.

3. Types of Volunteer Projects in the Smoky Mountains


There are dozens of volunteer projects available in the Smoky Mountains! If you enjoy working with people, consider a Visitor Center Information Assistant where you’ll help provide visitors with directions, park history and more! For those that prefer hands-on experience on the park’s trails, there are various programs that help ensure that the park’s 848 miles of maintained trail are up to hiking standards! Other volunteer programs in the park include Litter Patrols to keep the park clean, Roadside Assistance volunteers and Cultural Resources Interpreters!

4. Volunteer with Trails Forever

If you find that no volunteer positions are available directly through the National Park service, consider volunteering with Trails Forever! This is a partnership program between Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Friends of the Smokies. The volunteer component of the Trails Forever program gives individuals the opportunity to work in conjunction with National Park Service employees and make lasting and important improvements to trails throughout the park!

While you can become a National Park Volunteer in the Smoky Mountains, you can also get your children involved in the park with the Junior Ranger Program! Learn about why kids love becoming a National Park Junior Ranger!