Volunteers install a park bench on Uplands Trail during National Trails Day.

French draining dirt stompers

Community shows up for National Trails Day

Judging by the lack of even a solo cloud in the sky on June 2, it appeared Mother Nature is a fan of Big Sky’s trails. Which made for a perfect outing as nearly 50 volunteers helped out during National Trails Day, organized locally by the Big Sky Community Organization. 

     Volunteers of all ages met at the Community Park, where they were assigned tasks for all skill levels. Many of the usual suspects showed up—JeNelle Johnson (featured in the Lookout’s first volunteer profile for her work with the Gallatin River Task Force) was there trimming willows along Little Willow Way as she had done in years past. Dean Nally, another “59716 VOLUNTEER” alum, was also lending his time by staining picnic tables. 

     Grant Hilton did some serious hard labor on Little Willow Way by digging out problem muddy areas, installing French drains, adding some logs to divert the water and supplementing the trail’s gravel surface. He was covered in mud after the work, but now users of this stretch of the trail won’t suffer the same soiled fate. 

     “There was a little bit of work involved,” said Hilton, who has been volunteering for the event for six years now. “We had to get wheelbarrows to bring the gravel over there, pound it down and dig out the places for the logs to go in. But it was a lot of fun.” 

     In all, seven projects were completed within three hours on Big Sky’s trails. French drains were also added on Ralph’s Pass in an effort to dry up some wet spots. Benches were installed on the Hummocks and Uplands trails, while wooden picnic tables and benches were stained along Ousel Falls Trail. Culverts filled with mud were cleared on many trails, including along Crail Trail where a bridge was also built and gopher holes were filled.

     Following all the hard work, volunteers converged at the Community Park picnic area for a lunch donated by Roxy’s Market. The hungry helpers dined on burgers, hot dogs, pasta salad, fruit, cookies and more before heading home after a productive morning under a beautiful blue sky.  – JP


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