Volunteer Vacations

5:23 p.m. on August 22, 2016 (EDT)
440 reviewer rep
17 forum posts

Have you seen the fun Volunteer Vacations put together by American Hiking Society and other organizations? They're a great way to give something back to the outdoors community while spending time in awesome locations like the Appalachian Trail.

Since I'm a Wisconsinite - I need to plug the coolest one of these I've ever come across. The Ice Age Trail is one of the eleven NPS National Scenic Trails and is located entirely in Wisconsin. Throughout the warmer months, the Ice Age Trail Alliance chooses about one location a month to do some trail upkeep, improvement, or rerouting. They call this the Mobile Skill Crew. This like other volunteer vacations where you show up and are provided with a place to camp, all meals, and all tools and instruction needed to help. However, unlike many others, there is no cost to participate. 

For an example, we spent this last weekend just outside of Devil's Lake, rebuilding an old bridge and boardwalk, laying a stone staircase, and rerouteing a section of trail to take advantage of a much more beautiful viewscape that came available after some local oak savanna restoration work.

There are two events left for this year September 14 -18, and October 18-23. I keep telling people this is my "cubicle therapy". There's plenty of work to do, but it's fulfilling and makes me feel better in life. The October event is in Southern Wisconsin and would be very convenient for any of you Chicagolanders out there.

I believe the 2017 schedule will be up by March, so if you can't make it this year, but want to check out one of the best trails in the US (I'm not biased), check out the calendar early and get one of these events on your schedule.



6:46 p.m. on August 22, 2016 (EDT)
273 reviewer rep
1,962 forum posts

They do great work.,..My friend hike the trail last year for Warrior Hike and took part I think 2 days with this on their thru.,..They really enjoyed working with the crew...Great post...

6:10 a.m. on August 24, 2016 (EDT)
4,056 reviewer rep
1,546 forum posts

I had not heard of this. It sounds like a great way to give back and spend a few days away from work. Thanks! 

9:25 a.m. on August 24, 2016 (EDT)
2,008 reviewer rep
4,456 forum posts

Good for you for joining these, Siltloam! Thanks for your volunteer efforts.

10:54 a.m. on August 24, 2016 (EDT)
640 reviewer rep
1,184 forum posts

As a former employee of AHS - I can vouch for the quality and fun of these trips. It's a great fusion of getting outside, working hard and giving back! Thanks for sharing your experience, Siltloam!

That's a younger me on the Umpqua River during my last volunteer vacation.

6:29 p.m. on August 24, 2016 (EDT)
82 reviewer rep
492 forum posts

I am a firm believer in volunteerism and there are many opportunities nationwwide.  Frankly, the twenty-five years plus that I spent in volunteering for my local SAR team is the achievement in my life of which I am the proudest....

April 2, 2020
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