Smoky Mountain Segment:
February 25 – March 24, 2007
The Cumberland Trail Conference’s 12th annual Break-Away has come to a close. This Break-Away was certainly different than the last 4 Break-Away programs.
As many of you know, the trail building emphasis has shifted from the Soddy-Daisy, Tennessee area to the northern corridor of the Cumberland Trail near Caryville, Tennessee. The goal is to complete the Smoky Mountain segment of the CT which would connect Cove Lake and Frozen Head State Parks with one continuous trail. Besides a short segment of trail built during Big Dig 2006, this section of the CT has not had any new trail built since 2001.
Break-Away 2007 was the first major trail building effort in support of this new goal. In addition, this Break-Away had another twist; during the week of March 12-16 a second Break-Away took place near Crossville, Tennessee. Therefore, as you can imagine, many logistic issues had to be worked out. With the tremendous assistance of Cumberland Trail volunteers and others all of the pieces of the puzzle fell into place. This valuable assistance coupled with the students and volunteers’ hard work on the trail made Break-Away 2007, our largest and most ambitious ever, a huge success.
Break-Away 2007 produced many accomplishments. In the north, 253 students, 10 Americorp members, 23 trail volunteers, state park personnel, and CTC staff built approximately 4 miles of trail in 18 days totaling 8400 volunteer hours. In support of this trail building effort, 8 volunteers assisted the kitchen staff and 4065 meals were provided. This building effort almost completed the link up of trail from the New River north to completed trail at Green’s Branch. The overall goal for this segment is to connect Cove Lake and Frozen Head State Parks with one continuous backcountry trail. The goal for BA 2007 was to begin this trail building effort by building trail from Norma Road north towards Green’s Branch. The idea was to have the Break-Away students build trail in the more accessible areas and to complete the work in the more remote areas during a later trail building program (Big Dig 2007).
In Crossville, 45 students, 19 trail volunteers, and CTC staff built approximately 1.5 miles of trail in 4 days totaling 1800 volunteer hours on the trail. Numerous volunteers from the Plateau TTA Chapter and Fairfield Glade Hiking Club supported this trail building effort by cooking and providing 750 meals. The goal for this site was to complete the re-route of the trail onto the western slope of Black Mountain. This endeavor completed the re-route of the trail on the western slope of Black Mountain down to Windless Cave.
As stated earlier, without the tremendous support of all volunteers the accomplishments of Break-Away 2007 would not have been possible and I want to say thank you. Since 1996 the Cumberland Trail project has been an all volunteer project. Break-Away 2007 is evidence that this volunteer spirit and interest in the Cumberland Trail continues to grow and multiply.