Thursday, Aug 16, 2012
Gaffney, SC – On Tuesday July 17th 2012, six local youth and two adults working with the Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) program at Cowpens National Battlefield took a 4-day “spike trip” to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Spike trips are service-related work camps dedicated to the maintenance and improvement of our national parks.
Tim Warner, the Southern District (NC) Trails Maintenance Supervisor, assigned the group to rehabilitate trails in the Deep Creek District in the NC section of the park. Each work day started after driving 45 minutes to the Deep Creek trailhead, then hauling all equipment, food, and water two miles to the worksite. The group spent the next six hours working with the Southern District (NC) Trail Maintenance Crew, to clear and enhance area hiking and horse trails, initially blazed by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC).
Most of the youth had never visited Great Smoky Mountains National Park. While there, they learned about the correlation between the CCC and the YCC and the history of the park. Cowpens employee, Randy Fowler led the group, noting, “This was a great opportunity to educate these young people about national parks and their history. The YCC program carries on the legacy of the Civilian Conservation Corps, who originally built these trails in the 1930s.”
As a result of their spike trip, the teens were able to learn about the history of the Great Smoky Mountains and to see how the work completed by the YCC and their predecessors preserve the parks for future generations. The trip was a perfect combination of hard work, education, and fun. Brook Blanton, one of the YCCs gushed, “The spike trip was awesome!”