Monday, May 4, 2015

Kennesaw Mountain Trail Club honored for heavy lifting before, during 150th events

Volunteers at 24-Gun Battery Trail construction (Photos: KMTC)

A club that maintains 22 miles of trail within Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park near Atlanta will receive a National Park Service award for its extensive volunteer efforts leading up to and during last year’s sesquicentennial events.

The NPS, in conjunction with the National Park Foundation, will bestow the 2014 George and Helen Hartzog Awards for Outstanding Volunteer Service at a June program in Washington, D.C.

The Kennesaw Mountain Trail Club will receive the volunteer group award. It is being recognized for:

-- Taking a large role in the park’s commemoration last year of the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain by recruiting, training and directing 500 volunteers who contributed 3,000 hours to make the visitor experience more enjoyable; and by raising more than $100,000 -- making it possible for prominent historians, authors, and performers to participate in commemorative events. The club also maintained a website intended to build interest and volunteer and sponsorship opportunities.

-- Working closely with the park staff, spending two years planning and constructing the reroute of the Assault Trail (above), to follow the approximate path that Union soldiers took to engage Confederate troops at Cheatham Hill and past the McCook monument, which sat alone on the ridge for years;

-- Building the 1.5-mile long 24-Gun Battery Trail, along the spot where Federal artillerymen opened up on Confederate positions in the heights above at the June 1864 clash;

-- Creating school programs to bring children into the park for interpretive sessions about the history of the battle and the Civilian Conservation Corps camp.

-- Creating the “Hunt for History” scavenger hunt and holding a movie premiere to generate public excitement about the sesquicentennial.

Work along the 24-Gun Battery Trail (Photos: KMTC)

Members of the trail club, which was formed in 2002, have given about 28,000 hours of service. It has between 50 and 100 active members, with hundreds of other volunteers helping from time to time on work days.

Kennesaw Mountain’s trails draw a range of visitors, from out-of-state war buffs to locals who enter the park from subdivisions to get some exercise. There are runners, walkers, horseback riders and hikers preparing for strenuous endeavors around the world.

The awards are named for former National Park Service Director George B. Hartzog, Jr. and his wife Nancy. In 1970, the Volunteers-In-Parks (VIP) was launched.

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