Posted 8/12/18

Want to make a difference in your community and potentially aid your state at the same time? Come to Red Clay State Park’s upcoming Volunteer Service Day on Saturday, Aug. 18, from 10 a.m. to 2 …

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Want to make a difference in your community and potentially aid your state at the same time?

Come to Red Clay State Park’s upcoming Volunteer Service Day on Saturday, Aug. 18, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and help a Tennessee icon continue its services for years to come.

Seasonal Interpretive Ranger John Radford works with park conservation and has organized the volunteer day for two years by inviting community members to the park to help out.

“Volunteer Service Day has gone on as long as Red Clay has had seasonal rangers,” Radford said.

The program itself is an opportunity for people who need to accrue community service hours to do so, as well as aid the park in general. Radford explains that those who have the Tennessee Promise scholarship benefit immensely from the service day, and often make up a large amount of the workforce. At the moment, hours acquired can go towards the spring semester as well, he said.

Volunteers will be doing one of two tasks in the park: either trail maintenance or trail clearing.

Trail maintenance is essentially trail building, and involves removing obstacles from trails such as fallen limbs, brush, etc. Other volunteers will be working with heavier equipment such as mattocks and axes.

“It’s a really easy day that’s also good exercise and a lot of fun,” Radford said.

Trail maintenance is a task that all parks require each year, and Red Clay is thankful to its local community for coming out and helping ensure the park’s beauty year after year.

There is no age group required to volunteer; however, due to the nature of the maintenance and work, the park is requesting anyone who is a teen or older.

“I think people will learn the value of state parks, how important they are to maintain and also how much work is required to maintain them,” Radford added. “I think this is something that remains underappreciated at times.”

As the day may be hot and humid, Red Clay asks that all volunteers bring their own lunches, but the park will provide all necessary water.

Red Clay sees around 200,000 visitors per year, and its staff believes this volunteer day affects the local community in an incredibly positive way, by not only providing a great service to the state park, but showing the community how important the park is.

“People will gain a new appreciation for a place after they are in charge of making it look nice,” Radford said. “They’ll take pride in their work, and we are so thankful for that. Many of them may be future visitors as well.”

An event has been created on Facebook called August Volunteer Service Day. Details for the event can be found there under Red Clay’s Facebook by anyone searching for more information. The park is seeking between 20-25 volunteers in order to effectively complete its trail maintenance.

Radford added that since Tennessee taxpayer dollars fund state parks, helping Red Clay is helping Tennessee by extension.

Red Clay has a variety of outdoor activities for visitors to experience throughout the rest of the year, including its sacred Blue Hole spring, which still serves as a meeting place for Cherokee dignitaries, and numerous recreations of Cherokee homesteads. Various monuments are also present for those interested in learning about Red Clay’s significance as the last Eastern capital of the Cherokee Nation before the Trail of Tears commenced.

“People should come here to be outdoors and to learn about our area and community,” Radford said. “Volunteering here is just one way of doing that.”

In addition to Facebook, check out www.tnstateparks.com for more details on Red Clay and other Tennessee state parks.



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