I just read an article in The Washington Post that the final shelter in the Smokies was renovated at Laurel Gap Shelter which is the last of 15 shelters to be modified:
The work involved improved natural lighting, a cooking area to separate food odors from sleeping space; better bunk access; new roofs; masonry repair; and drainage upgrades.
Having hiked and stayed in shelters frequently in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park – I applaud the volunteers of the Friends of the Smokies, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy and the Smoky Mountains Hiking Club for their efforts. Here’s a shot of Ice Water Springs Shelter before the renovation (a 1992 photo):
Here’s a shot of Ice Water Springs Shelter after the renovation:
This effort took place over a number of years and is a major improvement from the days of the chain linked fence that used to cover the front of the shelters. 12 of the 15 shelters reside on the Appalachian Trail, so there is likely to be a steady stream of people to benefit from this modification. Well done volunteers!