Volunteers keep forest beautiful

3:20 PM, Oct 8, 2012   |    comments
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Cherokee National Forest is just one of the natural resources we enjoy in East Tennessee.

It takes a lot of people to keep it beautiful, including volunteers.

Just past Bald River Falls in the Cherokee National Forest a wood building welcomes visitors, campers, and hunters.

Steve Massengill with TWRA said, "There's some place they can sit and get dry and plus tell a few stories. So it works out good for everybody."

The US Forest Service and TWRA are in charge of the North River Checking Station where hunters check their game.

"When they bring in the game and stuff we can weigh them here and this is where we do all of our data collection," Massengill said.

Jane Jacobs said, "We step aside and clean up after they leave."

Jane and Jerry Jacobs live near Fort Loudon Lake two days a week and live and volunteer at the checking station five days a week.

They picked up the assignment from other volunteers in August but have helped out in the national forest for years.

Jerry said, "We started our volunteer experience out at Indian Boundary clearing the trail, trimming the trail, that goes around the lake over there."

Jane said, "We love it, we enjoy it. Meet a lot of people."

The Jacobs keep the place tidy, mow, landscape, welcome visitors, and make radio contact in case of an emergency. They are part of a team of volunteers complementing the work of the US Forest Service and TWRA.

"You have so many volunteers. You have one couple over there in Indian Boundary that's volunteered since before electricity was even offered. They've probably been there 40 or 45 years," Jane said.

Volunteers donated most of the material and labor to improve the facility.

"A lot of really good people put a lot of hard work into this and made it happen," Massengill said.

Mary Jane Burnette with the US Forest Service said, "When I first started there was a little tin shed and that as it. No bathroom. And then they moved up to a little side enclosed shed to this. So this is the Hilton."

The checking station is also a source for fresh water. And regulars say they can't believe how clean the bathrooms are.

"Cleaning bathrooms is usually the game breaker for most people. A lot of people don't like to do that," Burnette said.

Jane and Jerry Jacobs take special pride in the spotless bathrooms they clean in a systematic way.

"I think our bathrooms look really nice and we do try to keep them that way. I feel like this is an extension of us and we want it to look nice," Jane said.

Burnette said, "We couldn't operate this without them."

The Jacobs hope to be back next season.

"If they'll ask us to come back..." Jerry said with a laugh.

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