July 5, 2012. On Monday, May 7, the Park Advisory Committee for Elk Knob State Park met and recognized Tom Layton, Kim Mitchell and the Appalachian State University Trail Crew for their volunteer service on the Elk Knob Summit Trail. Each volunteer was awarded the Governor’s Award for Volunteer Service in a specific category.
Tom Layton was awarded the Individual Award for volunteering several hundred hours to help build the Summit Trail. As the application stated, Layton “committed himself to showing up at our park, rain or shine, almost every Saturday to perform backbreaking work.” He was digging tread, moving large, heavy rocks and shoveling and spreading gravel. Layton occasionally took vacation days from his real job to volunteer on the trail.
Kim Mitchell was awarded the Senior Volunteer Award. He stated that he had always enjoyed hiking and felt the need to give back for all the hikes he had enjoyed. Mitchell helped to do back breaking labor and had no trouble keeping up with the younger folks. As a matter of fact, most of the younger folks had trouble keeping up with Mitchell. He was working on the dreary, foggy, cool day when the volunteers broke through to the top after five and a half years of labor.
Finally, the Appalachian State University Trail Crew was a huge help to the Elk Knob staff as they came several times a year to help build the Summit Trail. And when the ASU Trail Crew came to help, they brought lots of people who were interested in making this trail great. They did some very heavy lifting for us because groups could be used in a different manner than individuals. These college students gave up sleeping in on a Saturday to come move and spread gravel, dig waterbars, participate in bucket brigades and not a one of them ever complained about the hard work.
There were many other people who volunteered consistently and were dedicated to making this trail the best possible but there were no categories into which they could be placed for the Governor’s Award for Volunteer Service. Everybody who helped, whether once or multiple times, was a big part of this trail and the staff at Elk Knob State Park sincerely could not have done it without any one of you. Thanks to all!