National Trails Day
Volunteer opportunities to maintain the places we loVe more than one day each year
Across the state, and the country, the first Saturday in June is identified as National Trails Day.
According to the National Parks Service, the annual event is hosted by the American Hiking Society, “Which celebrates not only national scenic and historic trails, but all trails on public lands.”
“Most trail organizations, especially in our region, put something on,” Adam Johnson, parks and trails director with the Big Sky Community Organization (BSCO), said. He listed the Gallatin Valley Land Trust and the Southwest Montana Mountain Biking Association (SWMMBA) out of Bozeman and the Prickly Pear Land Trust in Helena as a few he knew of hosting events on June 5.
As far as Big Sky goes, various family-friendly, trail maintence and cleanup projects will be available for the Big Sky community to dive into. BSCO has been putting on National Trail Day-based projects for about a decade, Johnson estimated. Volunteers will meet at the River Pavilion at the Big Sky Community Park beginning at 8:30 a.m. and work until around noon. Tools will be provided, and volunteers are asked to bring water, sunscreen and appropriate attire.
“Generally, we do some work out on Hummocks. There’s going to be a bench that were going to install and there’s some clean-up work to be done—some down trees and whatnot in the Hummocks area,” Johnson said.
Some of the focus will be on wet spots on the trails, working to direct water where it needs to go, or rather, away from where it should not go. Johnson explained that as the snowmelt melts, water can seep out of the ground, cross grassy areas—'weeping’ out of hillsides—then onto the trails. Diversions can be built with natural elements to guide the water off the trails. This type of project also happens on the Uplands and Ousel Falls trails and general improvement on Ralph’s Pass will be conducted.
BSCO is working with the Big Sky SWMMBA chapter and the Big Sky Town Center to put this event on, a good collaboration between the groups, Johnson described. SWMBBA plans to install an informational kiosk at the Michener trail system and get some light trail work done on the relatively new mountain biking trails as well—repairing berms, removing debris. Fundraising for a new pump track, to be located near the Big Sky Community Park, will be available onsite during the fundraising day and after. Pizza and beer will be provided as refreshments.
Volunteers are encouraged to sign up on BSCO’s website. Overall, the projects completed and work done will depend on the number of people who show up. A list of other future projects is also available on the website for those looking for more ways to carry out National Trails Day beyond the first Saturday of June.