National Public Lands Day this year attracted 44 volunteers who came together on Saturday, Sept. 25 to help the US Forest Service with hands-on trail improvements. Volunteers battled rain and weather in an effort to learn about trail maintenance and help improve trail conditions on the Trail of Time, the Power Line Trail and with the Under Thunder Trail connections. These enhancements included moving yards of gravel, de-barking dozens of trees, clearing corridors and re-vegetation of approximately 800 feet of trail. These improvements will help future trail users easily navigate their way through our lush national forest.
Although National Public Lands Day only comes around once a year as a day for hands-on service and environmental education, there are organizations who help with this effort year-round. Under the supervision of Peter Cross, Ron Marvin, Laurie Craig and other USFS and local volunteers, we were able to help contribute to the everyday environmental goals of the Forest Service.
This year, as SAGA celebrated its 25th anniversary, they helped host National Public Lands Day for a fourth year. In addition to trail improvements, this year volunteers were also educated by a presentation by local Americorps Crew members Joe Welsh, Chavala Condor, Liz McLaurin, Sara DeLeo and Paul Kastler. They were just one of the three Americorps Corps crews serving on Admiralty Island, at North Young Lake and Mole Harbor, this season. They had a informative presentation detailing their wilderness trail work, as well as the history of the wilderness island, "Kootzwoonoo." They showed a "minimum tools" demonstration which addressed how to create trail structures without the use of power tools.
They talked about using cross-cut saws, hand drills, bow saws, hatchets, log tongs, single-jacks and other hand-tools which were displayed for demonstration. They emphasized their own personal growth as the crew learned about teamwork and trail work. Crew members said they enjoyed the challenges of working entirely with their hands and turning whole trees into walkable trail structures.
Thank You to sponsors, volunteers, as well as the Forest Service for your dedication to National Public Lands Day. Lunch, breakfast and prizes were all graciously donated by CostCo, McDonalds, Subway, Papa Murphy's Pizza, Alaska Industrial Hardware, Foggy Mountain, Nugget Alaskan Outfitters, The Rock Dump, Alaska Outdoor Embrodiery Warehouse and REI.