For those who don’t know, the American Hiking Society is a, “non-profit [founded in 1976] dedicated to preserving trails, the areas that surround them and the hiking experience” (http://bit.ly/1wqEmBF). This group provides awesome opportunities for those looking to give back to a community that can only survive through its own preservation methods. If it weren’t for groups such as the American Hiking Society the wilderness experience hikers get to enjoy would not last due to over use of trails, forest degradation, and many weather related trail issues.
Although we may not always be consciously thinking about it while we hike the trails, and explore all Mother Nature has to offer; volunteer groups are constantly helping keep the trails groomed, safe, and reliable for all those passing through. This is an important job that definitively gets overlooked by many and is a major reason why I wanted to make sure I gave back to my community.
While I have never been to/hiked Alaska previously, the hiking community is vast and I feel just as connected to helping keep America’s Last Frontier wild, as much as, I would helping out around my “home” trails of New England (more specifically the White Mountains, NH).
This will be my first volunteer trail work experience and I look forward to all the people I meet, and hard work I will be able to put in, in order to maintain a beautiful land.
The actual trail work I will be conducting will take place in the Chugach National Forest, where I will be helping eradicate invasive plant life. While this may not seem like a glorious way to spend a vacation, it will be extremely gratifying and lets face it, a little hard work never hurt nobody.
The American Hiking Society and many other nonprofit volunteer organizations have projects all over the world throughout the year and if you have any interest in using them as a means to travel somewhere, or help your local trail networks definitely check out what they have to offer.
Below is a link to the American Hiking Society’s 2015 “Volunteer Vacations” which lists over 50 trips throughout the United States, check them out and give back to a great community if you feel so inclined!
(Image taken from https://www.americanhiking.org/events/chugach/)