Illinois Trail Corps: Halfway Mark, a set on Flickr.
Diane Banta (National Park Service Rivers, Trails, & Conservation Assistance) and I (Steve) spent July 18 with Illinois Trail Corps at Lake Shelbyville. We met Col. Anthony Mitchell, the new USACE - Saint Louis District commander, and spent some time bench cutting a new Illini Trail alignment with the team. To end the day, the General Dacey Trail group donated $10,000 towards Illinois Trail Corps. Diane hoovered it all up with her lens. Pretty good day. Only two ticks.
By Andrew Chavis
A hiking trail can be a place of wholeness and peace; it can be a place where a mind can escape from emails, phone bills, gas prices or college history papers. A hiking trail is a niche for those who strive to see the outdoors, achieve clarity and escape the modern world if only for a while.
A trail is more than a trail to Trails for Illinois, as well as Maple 1. Maple 1 is a diverse team of eight adults ranging from 18- 24 representing the AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps. With all different backgrounds, skill sets, educations, goals and motives, they have chosen to dedicate ten months to serve the community. Having served assignments with Habitat For Humanity in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and Detroit Metro YMCA In Detroit, Michigan, the trail of service now brings us to Shelbyville, Illinois to assist Trails for Illinois in their vision of a trail by every doorstep.
Maple 1 has been camping at Lake Shelbyville’s Lone Point Camping Site for two weeks now, and have grown accustom to the trials, tribulations and serene beauty of outdoor living. Luxuries for the team are a kitchen tent to cook food, tents to sleep in, a sink to wash dishes and electricity to run a refrigerator, coffee pot and to charge phones. Also two donated bikes are used to make trips to the showers close to half a mile away. Despite what would seem difficult living conditions the team has learned to make Lone Point their sanctuary. However, Maple 1 didn’t come to Shelbyville to camp, but to leave a legacy that anyone can enjoy. That legacy is trails, and hopefully eleven miles of it.
Tuesdays through Saturdays, 7am to 4pm you can find Maple 1 on the Chief Illini Trail, restoring this battered resource to a first-class hiking experience worthy of state pride. We dodge the Poison Ivy that snakes up trees, keep a sharp eye for sneaky ticks and enjoy the sweetness of water on hot Illinois days. Trail building requires a few team mates to cut low limbs, small trees and remove down limbs as we reroute and recut trail to eliminate problem areas and stop erosion. If a limb or tree is too big we’ll bring in our teams’ trained chain sawyers, and soon we’ll have an open path ready for trail construction.
Ideal tools for trail building are the Pulaski and the McLeod, which happen to be popular fire fighting tools. Using these tools the team will dig into the sides of hills and valleys, through roots and rock to make a long lasting trail. Doing a few hundred feet of trail can take hours, but the end result is so wonderful you just smile walking on it. So far we have completed three and half miles in our first two weeks [see the work map], and hope to create even more in the coming weeks.
Every day is an adventure when you have to hike miles in the wilderness to make trails, and then come back and camp only to do it again the next day. Here we will share that adventure with you so that others can learn the pride, sense of accomplishment and peace that comes along with trail building.
When he puts down his Pulaski, Andrew is Maple 1’s media representative.
Follow NCCC team Maple 1 at https://www.facebook.com/Maple1XX
Follow Trails for Illinois at https://www.facebook.com/trailsforillinois
GITy Up! 2014: Quad Cities, a set on Flickr.Rising waters, a last minute reroute, a midnight storm, emergency coffee run—GITy Up! 2014:Quad Cities rolled right over the top of it all, giving people a delicious bite-sized taste of overnight bicycle touring along the Great River Trail and the Mighty Mississippi. Enjoy the photos by Homewood, Illinois’ Thomas’ Photographic Services.
Welcome, Illinois Trail Corps, to Lake Shelbyville -
Presenting…the Illinois Trail Corps, logo, soon to grace our Hauler of Fame tool trailer and the swanky t-shirts of donors to our Make Trails Work campaign. Thank you, Yellow Barn Design!