Friends of the Smokies has worked for the last four years to meet a challenge grant from the Aslan Foundation of Knoxville to establish the $4 million Trails Forever endowment. This week a small group of donors hiked the Forney Ridge Trail with the Trails Forever crew and volunteers to experience the results of this major trail reconstruction program.
Nearly 1,000 donors from 37 states have contributed to the endowment so far; people give because they love hiking in the Smokies, or because they have experienced the transformation of a favorite trail by the Trails Forever crew. Many donors have given to honor Lindsay Young, a founding board member of Friends of the Smokies who started the Aslan Foundation of Knoxville.
A half-million dollars in gifts and pledges from the friends and family of Knoxville wellness advocate Tom Cronan were instrumental in meeting Aslan’s initial challenge match. Local hikers who make annual donations to Friends of the Smokies in memory of legendary Mt. Le Conte trekker Margaret Stevenson added another $42,000 to the Trails Forever balance. Pathfinder Funds within Trails Forever were set up to accept gifts in Tom Cronan’s, Margaret Stevenson’s, and Lindsay Young’s names.
While Tuesday’s event was a celebration of the program’s initial successes, Friends President Jim Hart explains what’s next for Friends of the Smokies.... read the rest of the story by Subscribing now.