Backpacker - - Public Lands | Build It -

THE GOOD FOLKS at Friends of the Cum­ber­land Trail know that wait­ing for grants and other gov­ern­ment aid is no way to break ground. Of course, they’ll still take do­na­tions, but they’re pi­o­neer­ing new ways to fund the Cum­ber­land Trail, which will stretch 300 miles across the Vol­un­teer State’s Smoky Moun­tains when com­pleted. The vol­un­teer or­ga­ni­za­tion founded San­drock Record­ings, a small record la­bel, to spon­sor lo­cal artists, as well as a ra­dio show of the same name to cel­e­brate the trail and the area’s his­tory; all pro­ceeds for both go di­rectly to main­te­nance and trail-build­ing projects for the Cum­ber­land. To date, they’ve pulled in more than $10,000.

And show­stop­per that it is, the Cum­ber­land de­serves ev­ery record deal signed in its name: It passes big-view gorges, white­wa­ter rivers, and hazy moun­tain vis­tas as it me­an­ders from the Ken­tucky state line to Chat­tanooga. (Hop on the Lau­relSnow sec­tion out­side Day­ton for the best bite-size piece.) But, it’s only half-done. Justin P. Wil­son Cum­ber­land Trail State Park, the trail’s stew­ard, needs vol­un­teers to help with con­struc­tion, specif­i­cally near Cum­ber­land Gap Na­tional His­toric Park and Grassy Cove Karst Area on the trail’s north end, as well as near Chicka­mauga Creek Gorge on the south end. The money is there— all that’s needed is you.

TRAILHEAD Cum­ber­land in Lau­rel-Snow State Nat­u­ral Area (35.5258, -85.0219) SEA­SON Year­round PER­MIT None CON­TACT friend­soft­he­cum­ber­land­

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