Credit: Boqiang Liao
NewsAuthor: Steven Shaw
GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAINS N.P. -- The Superintendent of Great Smoky Mountains National Park has a message! Take a hike! Superintendent Cassius Cash committed to hiking 100 miles of trail in GSMNP during 2016, the National Park Service centennial. “Smokies Centennial Challenge-Hike 100” program aims to “inspire all potential hikers—young and old, new and skilled—to experience and gain a new appreciation and stewardship for their National Park.”
“I invite people of all ages and backgrounds, including millennials, to join me on this journey as we discover and explore the Smokies,” said Superintendent Cassius Cash. “The Hike 100 challenge allows me to have a personal role in ensuring that the next generation of park users, supporters, and advocates carries on the legacy of the National Park Service for the next 100 years. The lifeline of any legacy is to ensure that our voices are not only heard by the next generation, but also shared in a manner that inspires them to pick up the torch from the previous generation and carry it forward."
To take part, hikers must complete 100 miles of maintained trail within the park between January 1 and December 6, 2016. Any trail counts, from short nature trails to epic backcountry trips. Hikers can complete the same trail more than once. Once the 100-mile goal is reached participants earn a commemorative “Smokies Centennial Challenge - Hike 100” pin and will be invited to a park celebration hosted by Superintendent Cash.
Also, to show his dedication and passion for the public getting involved in the challenge. Superintendent Cash is holding four hikes where the general public is invited to hike alongside him to truly Find Your Park. Two shorter front country hikes are scheduled in August and December and will be open to everyone who wants to accompany him (Saturday, August 20, 2016 - Gatlinburg Trail, Saturday, December 3, 2016 - Oconaluftee River Trail). Two backcountry hikes are scheduled for June and October, but are limited to 20 people each. (Saturday, June 25, 2016 - a trail in North Carolina Saturday, October 8, 2016 - a trail in Tennessee) To sign up for one of these public hikes visit the park website and the Hike 100 page or simply click here to sign up.