National Volunteer Week 2017

As part of National Volunteer Week, the Forest Service is honored to recognize the spectacular volunteers that dedicate time and energy to essential project work on national forests. In 2016, 6,344 individual volunteers in the Eastern Region contributed 227,025 total hours to projects that restored watersheds, improved recreation areas, improved wildlife and fisheries habitat, and restored historic structures.

In September of 2016, volunteers were an integral part of helping to replace the Big Sauble Bridge in a section of the North Country National Scenic Trail (NCT).

The Western Michigan and Spirit of the Woods Chapters of the North Country Trail Association (NCTA) play an integral part in making the 128-mile portion of the NCT on the Manistee National Forest a sustainable trail. Since its designation, these members have tirelessly worked in support of non-motorized recreation, healthy watersheds and tourism.

In terms of the Big Sauble Bridge project, the existing bridge had deteriorated to the point of becoming a public safety issue. The bridge’s five piers went into the river causing both hydraulic and environmental issues.

On day one, 30 people showed up to work on the project, including Forest Service employees, two 21CSC members and ten NCTA volunteers. Because of the new bridge materials, geosynthetic reinforced soil abutments and a fiber reinforced polymer (FRP) bridge, the crew hand carried pieces down to the river.

This dedicated group completed the 100 foot long bridge over the span of several days. It was the first FRP Bridge constructed on the Forest. The Forest put together a great photo video of the project, including before and after visuals.

In addition to the bridge, NCTA members assisted with rerouting a 4,500 foot section of eroding trail to a sustainable location.

In total, volunteers contributed 805 hours to ensure this section of the NCT is available for future generations.

Our love of special places in our national forests and our desire to preserve them for future generations unites us!

Inspired to volunteer with the Forest Service? Find out more information at: http://www.fs.fed.us/working-with-us/volunteers.