Great Smoky Mountains National Park recently held a special day camp, called “Happy Trails,” that was aimed at providing educational and recreational activities for a user group that is not often engaged by the national parks – persons with special needs.
The program offered a deeper connection with the park by providing both outdoor experiences and interactions with park staff to the participants.
Sixteen individuals from surrounding communities participated in the one day program. They spent the day with park staff and SCA interns exploring salamanders along the accessible Sugarlands Valley Nature Trail, learning about wildlife, and getting an up close view of one of the park’s fire trucks.
The program was initiated by one of the park’s NPS Academy interns, SCA Kristofer Covington. Covington, a senior at Jackson State University, worked with his fellow interns to organize, plan, and lead the day camp program.