Students Spend Summer Volunteering For Save The Trails™
Nature Valley® Sponsors Program with the Student Conservation Association to Restore Trails in Five Parks.
Students are giving up their summer vacations to restore trails in parks across the country. Nature Valley’s Save the Trails™ program is a unique public-private partnership with the Student Conservation Association (SCA) funding the volunteer work of college and high school students committed to combat the destructive forces of nature and help keep park trails available for everyone to enjoy.
Fire, erosion and catastrophic storms have caused major destruction in some of our nation’s most beautiful parks. These trails are a way for people to enjoy the simple wonders of Mother Nature – from the leisurely afternoon strollers to the skilled adventure-seeking hikers. This year, Nature Valley has committed $275,000 to trail conservation. The Save the Trails program will help repair trails in the following parks:
* Mojave National Preserve; Essex, Calif.
* Lowell National Historic Park; Lowell, Mass.
* North Country National Scenic Trail; Itasca, Minn.
* Blue Ridge Parkway; Ashville, N.C.
* Mount Rainier National Park; Ashford, Wash.
“Nature Valley is committed to preserving and protecting our park and public lands,” said Colin Smyth, Nature Valley marketing. “The volunteer work students are doing over their summer vacation with the SCA is inspiring. In fact, their hard work lead us to the creation of the Save the Trails program back in 2005 to aid in their conservation mission.”
“We are thrilled to be working with Nature Valley because they really understand and support what these teens are doing,” says Laura Herrin, National Director for High School Programs at the SCA National Office. “We have a dedicated group of students committed to this program – some even returning for their second or third year.”
This summer marks the third year of the conservation program in which 60 students have already restored more than 100 miles of trail. An additional 30 students will volunteer more than 4,800 hours over this summer to help restore approximately 20 additional miles.
Nature Valley’s Save the Trails program will fund a crew of six students and two leaders at each of the five locations. The crews will stay in campgrounds within the park for three to five weeks to complete their project.
Mojave National Preserve
Mojave National Preserve is the third-largest national park in the contiguous United States, located in the triangle between Interstates 40 and 15 and Highway 95 in California.
From winter 2004 to summer 2005, the park received over 20 inches of rain – more than three times the annual average – eroding and washing out park roads and sections of the trail. Then in June 2005, a 70,000+ acre wildfire burned two-thirds of the length of the trail. The Save the Trails crew will restore the badly eroded sections, install drainage water bars and water channels and upgrade the entire length of the trail to National Park Service trail standards.
Lowell National Historic Park
The Save the Trails crew will assist with the next phase in the construction of the Lowell Riverwalk. The work includes construction of a new trail and recreational areas as part of Pawtucket Falls Overlook Park.
The park will provide public access to the Pawtucket Falls Overlook with the trail connecting the Merrimack River and Pawtucket Gatehouse to the Northern Canal Walkway and the Francis Gatehouse. The early development phase will include cleaning brush, debris and trash, pruning trees, removal of graffiti and repainting along the proposed path and park areas as the preparation begins for the creation of paths and plantings.
North Country National Scenic Trail
The North Country National Scenic Trail stretches from New York to North Dakota and will eventually extend more than 4,600 miles – providing a premier hiking experience through a rich diversity of landscapes.
The Save the Trails crew will take over regular maintenance duties for the constructed section of the trail for the 2007 season to allow the Itasca Moraine chapter of the trail to focus its resources on building the new 15-mile stretch. SCA will also be recruiting and training new volunteers to manage future maintenance assignments.
Blue Ridge Parkway
The Abbott Lake Trail in the Blue Ridge Parkway has ruts and erosion below water level near the lake’s edge due to heavy usage. The Save the Trails crew will restore the trail to help accommodate frequent use, improve safety for the visiting public and provide handicap accessibility.
This segment of the Abbott Lake Trail is an essential connector to the larger Peaks of Otter Trail System. Improving this segment with trail repairs and a new boardwalk will allow people to continue to visit and explore the natural areas beyond the lake.
Mount Rainier National Park
Mount Rainier National Park received almost 18 inches of rainfall in 36 hours last November causing floods that exceeded anything the park has experienced in its 108-year history. Rivers and streams flooded their channels and subsequent mudslides eliminated or damaged entire campgrounds and bridges along with miles of roads and trails. The estimated damage – more than $36 million.
The SCA is directing the volunteer flood recovery efforts at Mount Rainier and working collaboratively with park officials to assess backcountry damage and devise a restoration strategy. They will also organize a multi-year volunteer work plan to engage trail coalitions, friends groups and individual volunteers.
The Save the Trails crew is an all female group working on a project on the Wonderland Trail – a national historic 93 mile trail that circumnavigates Mount Rainier. The work will vary between reshaping drain logs, replacing silt bars and constructing trail features such as turnpikes, culverts and retaining walls.
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