3:37pm

Thu April 11, 2013
The Commonwealth

Volunteers Work to Improve State Parks

CORBIN – Nine young people from across the country are spending several weeks this spring working on trails in Eastern Kentucky to help communities and state parks. The AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps team has worked in Letcher County and at Cumberland Falls State Resort Park near Corbin and is scheduled to do more work at Stearns and Natural Bridge State Resort Park at Slade during April and May, according to a state park system news release.

Members of an AmeriCorps crew and other volunteers gather tools as they prepare to work on a trail at Cumberland Falls State Resort Park.
Credit Pam Gibson

The Office of Adventure Tourism applied for the crew to work along the state’s two largest trails – the Sheltowee Trace and the Pine Mountain Trail.

Elaine Wilson, director of adventure tourism, said the team is helping communities interested in becoming Trail Towns, a new program that highlights the outdoor adventure opportunities available in communities across Kentucky.

The AmeriCorps team has been welcomed at each work location. The Letcher County Fiscal Court honored each crew member with a proclamation, and guests at the state parks have offered their thanks.

“People come up to us and ask us what we’re doing,” team leader Katie Moir said in the news release. “They shake our hands and are very thankful for the work we’re doing.”

The workers have built bridges, added trail steps and cleared trails. They also learn from experts about trail maintenance and historic preservation.

“I think it’s been an amazing experience. It’s something I would not get to do anywhere else,” Moir, a graduate of St. Catherine University in St. Paul, Minn., said. The team members are 18-24 years old and are trained in first aid, CPR, safety and other skills before they start their work.

Sponsoring organizations must provide shelter and one meal a day for the crew.