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Trail Care Partner groups make a big difference

Volunteers from the Heart of the Valley YMCA and Alabama Outdoors Huntsville were some of the latest folks to put feet on the ground and hands to tools on Sunday, September 11, on behalf Land Trust trails.

The crew from local retailer Alabama Outdoors Huntsville tackled Bill & Marion Certain Trail on Blevins Gap Nature Preserve. This very popular nature preserve needs lots of love to keep the trails in shape for all of the runners, hikers, and bikers who enjoy them daily.

AOHsv Manager Jeff Jarrett wrote, “Had a great three hours this morning. We hikedthrough Bill & Marion Certain Trail and West Bluff. A little sweat, hard work, and, of course some fun. Beat back some of the tall grass, got some glass up, and clipped branches off the trail. We also got some of your pet peeves, Brandon – those pesky stumps in the middle of the trail, and did a sweep of the parking lot. Lots of trash picked up!”

“This is so fun! We love it. We hope to go back every 2-3 weeks,” Jarrett continued. “Hope we are not just limited to those two trails, as we’d love to work on the others as well. Also speaking with our Florence store to get them involved!”

YMCA Volunteers work on a Land Trust trail near New Market, Ala. (Eric Schultz / Rocket City Photo)

Youth Leadership Council from the YMCA blazed a trail on the Land Trust’s historic Bloucher Ford property located at the confluence of two important Madison County waterways: Mountain Fork Creek and the Flint River. The Ford is the site of Madison County’s first mill and is where county residents first saw electricity used to power the first phone. It was a major community gathering place in the early 1900’s.

“Land Trust of North Alabama has made the YMCA Youth Leadership Council an official Trail Care Partner,” said Lamont Singleton, YMCA Director of Youth Development and Social Responsibility. “Teens who participate through this YMCA Youth Leadership Council project with the Land Trust will develop communication skills, teamwork, and confidence as they create an attractive feature on this Preserve that others can walk and enjoy for many years to come,” Singleton added.

Land Trust Land Steward Brandon Perry reports, “We completed several hundred yards of trail utilizing hand tools and teamwork. We talked history of the property as well as history of the Land Trust. There was some nerdy trail building discussion as four of the youths had recently visited Yellowstone. We finished the event standing on the raised entryway of the Mill as the sun was going behind the trees.”

Kudos to these groups and all who volunteer to keep our community one of the very best hiking destinations in the South!