Pledge story: Jose Arroyo

Jose Arroyo is a city kid who’s had a hard life. Find out how he wound up in the Southern Appalachians building trails to access wilderness.

"This is our home and we have to protect it.”

Join Jose in a pledge for wilderness:

From New York streets to wild southern trails

Jose Arroyo grew up in New York, where for a time he was homeless. He’s now a Midshipman Candidate in the U.S. Naval Academy, and this summer he plans to return to work with the Southern Appalachian Wilderness Stewards. SAWS teamed up with the organization Groundwork-Hudson Valley in the summer of 2012, and that gave Jose the chance to experience the Southern Appalachians for the first time.

Jose and his SAWS crew built a trail to the popular Hawksbill overlook in North Carolina’s Linville Gorge Wilderness. And just south of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Jose helped repair a trail accessing the Joyce Kilmer-Slickrock Wilderness Area.

I believe The Wilderness Society is doing this because it wants to continue to impact kids like me,” says Jose.  

Jose used to day dream about wild places pictured on the back of Cheerios boxes. Now he is one of many young Americans working alongside The Wilderness Society to protect the Southern Appalachians. He also supports the Tennessee Wilderness Act, which would expand Joyce-Kilmer Slickrock, establish new wilderness protections for the Upper Bald River and increase the size of four other designated areas.

These include the Little and Big Frog Wilderness Areas, where Jose’s crew watched a giant black bear amble through the woods. 

Are you for wilderness? Take the pledge.  

See also:

Pledge story: Dan Smitherman

Pledge story: Lynn Donaldson

Our work in Tennessee

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