The Mountain Institute, located on Spruce Knob, has received $45,000 through the United States Forest Service to monitor and repair trails. The project will jumpstart TMI's new annual program titled "Mountain Trail Monitors." Mountain Trail Monitors takes TMI's field-based programming to the next step by combining it with on-the-ground stewardship. High school age volunteers (13-17) will put leadership, community service, and democratic ideals into practice. During the five-day, five-night outing, (worth at least 40 service hours) participants will live and work in the Monongahela National Forest. Each trip will begin with an introduction to camping, group living, and the principles of sustainable trail maintenance. Days will be spent working on the trails and evenings will be dedicated to cooking, wilderness skills such as; camp craft, animal tracking, fire building, map and compass reading, sensory awareness activities, Leave No Trace Ethics, campfire games, discussions and more.
Following a week in the woods, participants will head to the Spruce Knob Mountain Center to relax, reflect, and get prepare for the journey home. The only thing required for those interested is a ride to and from The Mountain Institute and participation upon arrival. All food, equipment and instruction will be provided by The Mountain Institute.
Funding comes from the Secure Rural Schools Act, which invests money in the communities that use and care for federal lands. The grant awarded to TMI allows eight weeks of the program throughout the next five years. The program is will run on a first come first served basis the weeks of May 26, June 2, June 9, June 30, July, 21 and July 28.
Mountain Trail Monitors will focus on trail improvement in Pocahontas and Randolph counties of West Virginia, though volunteers from any location are welcome to take part. If you or anyone you know of is interested in participating in MTM this summer, or for more information please contact Melinda Brooks at (304) 567-2632 or firstname.lastname@example.org. www.mountain.org/mountain-trail-monitors Jeff DeBellis/Melinda Brooks