San Juan Island NHP staff and local trails enthusiasts came together in July to learn how trails are planned and built while getting a little exercise and enjoying the great outdoors.
The trails workshop took place at the park’s newly acquired Mitchell Hill and was jointly conducted by the park, the San Juan County Land Bank, the San Juan Trails Committee, and the Bureau of Land Management.
The purpose of the workshop was twofold – to remedy deteriorated trails and to foster stewardship. By bringing park staff and local folks together to work toward these common goals, park resources are protected and visitor experiences are enriched.
Park maintenance worker David Harsh, along with Nick Teague, an outdoor recreation planner with the Bureau of Land Management (San Juan Islands) and preserve steward Doug McCutchen with the San Juan County Land Bank, led the workshop with a great mix of information, humor, and encouragement.
The enthusiastic group spent the morning learning about the proper use of equipment, safety, and techniques for trail maintenance. By mid-morning it was obvious that they were itching to use what they had learned and get to work! The afternoon was spent working on two projects and, no doubt, thinking ahead to future projects in the same area.
Those who completed the workshop became eligible to sign up as official NPS volunteers in order to continue this good work. It is hoped that with the success of this first workshop, the word will get out in the community and more individuals will want to become stewards of our park’s fine trail system.