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Deep Creep: Great Smoky Mountains National Park hosts Halloween costume clean-up

Courtesy of Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Volunteers at Deep Creep pose for a group picture.

Fans of puns and cleaning up trash have an opportunity to help out in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park this weekend.

Saturday is the 4th year of the Deep Creep Smokies Service Day.  Sheridan Roberts is the volunteer coordinator for the park.

“We thought it would just be really fun to do a costumed clean-up at Deep Creep, Deep Creek – and call it the Deep Creep,” said Roberts.  

Volunteers meet up in costume at Deep Creek in Swain County to clean up the area and do activities.  

“Probably some treats, maybe a trick or two. It’s the Deep Creep,” said Roberts.  

During the pandemic, the Great Smokies were the most visited national park in the country with over 12 million visitors.  Meanwhile there were far fewer volunteers – Roberts says the numbers dipped a bit from the previous year.

“We developed a parkwide litter ­­­­­­patrol program that allowed our volunteers - who were sheltering at home - when they were ready to come out, to do solo litter patrol pick-ups so that they could earn hours and give back and keep things looking good,” said Roberts.

Roberts says last year there were about 2,600 volunteers who worked a total of 102,000 hours collectively.  

“That’s a lot. The volunteers are active throughout the park,” said Roberts.   

The event is capped at 25 participants to keep it COVID-safe. Roberts hopes that Halloween cleanups can someday expand to other parts of the park. Here's where you can sign up to volunteer. 

Here’s the service day calendar for Fall:

Saturday, October 30th - ‘The Deep Creep!’

Don’t be scared. Greet Halloween Eve in the depths of Great Smoky Mountains National Park! Help keep Deep Creek BOO-tiful by participating in the annual “DEEP CREEP” Litter Clean-Up. Costumes encouraged! We’ll compete for ghoulishly delicious tricks & treats. No bones about it ... This is sure to be a morning of spooktacular fun and spirited stewardship!

Meeting Location: Deep Creek Picnic Area, North Carolina

Time: 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Limited to 25 Participants, All Ages Welcome! (Registration Required)

Saturday, November 6th - Fire Safety in Daisy Town

It’s Fall, Ya’ll… So grab a rake All! We’ll work together to remove fallen leaf build-up (fire fuel) around the historic cabins of Elkmont’s ‘Daisy Town’! Tools provided will be rakes, leaf blowers and tarps. This active day also offers the unique opportunity to learn from an NPS Wildland Firefighter about fire management/prevention and the role natural fires play in the ecosystem.

Meeting Location: Elkmont’s Historic ‘Daisy Town’, Tennessee

Time: 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Limited to 15 Participants, Ages 15+ (Registration Required)

Saturday, November 13th - ‘English Ivy Pull’ (Vegetation Management)

Work alongside the National Park Resource Management Team to remove exotic and invasive plants that threaten to dominate grounds in and around Elkmont’s ‘Daisy Town’. We’ll discuss plant ecology and learn how GSMNP ‘veg crews’ work to maintain a healthy natural balance!

Meeting Location: Elkmont (Appalachian Clubhouse Parking Area next to Daisy Town)

Time: 9:30am – 12:30pm

Limited to 20 Participants, Ages 16+ (Registration Required)

Lilly Knoepp serves as BPR’s first fulltime reporter covering Western North Carolina. She is a native of Franklin, NC who returns to WNC after serving as the assistant editor of Women@Forbes and digital producer of the Forbes podcast network. She holds a master’s degree in international journalism from the City University of New York and earned a double major from UNC-Chapel Hill in religious studies and political science.
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