The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

January 20, 2013

Volunteers sought for W.Va. trail program


For The Register-Herald

SPRUCE KNOB — The Mountain Institute, located on Spruce Knob, has received $45,000 through the United States Forest Service to monitor and repair trails. The project will jump-start TMI’s new annual program titled “Mountain Trail Monitors.”

Mountain Trail Monitors takes TMI’s field-based programming to the next step by combining it with on-the-ground stewardship. Volunteers will put leadership, community service, and democratic ideals into practice.

During the five-day, five-night outing (worth at least 40 service hours), participants will live and work in Monongahela National Forest.

Each trip will begin with an introduction to camping, group living, and the principles of sustainable trail maintenance.

Days will be spent working on the trails, and evenings will be dedicated to cooking and stream and forest monitoring practices along with wilderness skills such as camp craft, animal tracking, fire building, map and compass reading, Leave No Trace Ethics and campfire discussions.

Following a week in the woods, participants will head to Spruce Knob Mountain Center to relax, reflect and prepare for the journey home. The only thing required for those interested is a ride to and from The Mountain Institute and participation upon arrival. All food, equipment and instruction will be provided by The Mountain Institute.

Funding comes from the Secure Rural Schools Act, which invests money in the communities that use and care for federal lands. The grant awarded to TMI allows eight weeks of the program throughout the next five years. The program will run on a first-come, first-served basis the weeks of May 26, June 2, June 9, June 30, July 21 and July 28.

Mountain Trail Monitors will focus on trail improvement in Pocahontas and Randolph counties, though volunteers from any location are welcome to take part.

If you or anyone you know is interested in participating in Mountain Trail Monitors this summer, or for more information, contact Melinda Brooks at 304-567-2632 or mbrooks@mountain.org.

For more information visit www.mountain.org/mountain-trail-monitors Jeff DeBellis/Melinda Brooks.