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staff (who helped plan the service project) put in about 80,000 hours of free work this past summer and saved taxpayers approximately $1.6 million in the process. And more Scouts and Scouters are expected to volunteer for additional trail work on Park Service land in the New River Gorge area as the BSA-NPS partnership—one that first developed in 1926—broadens in the years to come. “It is a great opportunity to get

projects like this accomplished with volunteer service,” said Robin Snyder, the Park Service’s chief of interpreta- tion and visitor services at the New River Gorge National River office. “These were trails that we had identi- fied previously that we wanted to develop for public use. But the Park Service doesn’t necessarily have the staff to do this on our own.” That’s where the SummitCorps

project came in.

DAY ONE OF SUMMITCORPS 2011 began early. Scouts and Scouters got up just after dawn, and before 8 a.m. they had been divided into nearly two dozen work teams and had deployed deep into the West Virginia woods. Here they found a line of tiny flags and lopped-off trees that indicated the future trail’s location. A week earlier, the trees had been

trimmed to about a foot high, and the flags were planted by the Park Service and the advanced Instructor Corps (I-Corps) team. But plenty of work lay ahead. “On the first day, we just had to

bushwhack our way up the trail,” said Collin Huerter, an Arrowman from Topeka, Kan., as he stood on the now- visible trail. “But by the time we came back down, there was already nice trail laid down.” In mere days, SummitCorps

teams—one working from the trail’s northern end, which will be most easily accessed by locals, and the other working from the trail’s southern end, which runs alongside the Summit property—had cleared more than 10,000 feet of land. The crews from the south met the crews from the north in the middle. Even as a trail had taken shape, plenty of hard work remained. At the trail’s northernmost end, Work Team 5 wrapped up a lunch break that included lessons on brotherhood and got back to trail work. Team 5 had divided itself into subteams for the job. Three Arrowmen were using small pickaxes to chip large rocks, which they had dug out of the nearby hills, into smaller rocks. “This is like Leavenworth,” said one of that crew’s members. “Just bustin’ rocks.” A few feet away, another team of two Arrowmen used larger pickaxes

Trail building doesn’t just involve dirt. With the help of trail-design plans by the International Mountain Biking Association, Arrowmen removed roots and moved rocks as they constructed flag- stone rock pitches.

to carve out the farthest spot reached at the northern end of the trail. They cheered for each other as they ripped one massive root from the chalky earth. Meanwhile, the remaining team members raked roots from a portion of trail that had already been dug out. Thomas Fledderus, a Scouter from

Wheeling, W.Va., a city four hours north of the New River Gorge, was on that detail. “I’d say this is one of the hardest things I’ve done,” said Fledderus, who had brought along his son, an Arrowman named Lane. “Well, it’s certainly the hardest thing I’ve ever done that I’ve had to pay for.” Paid service. That’s a big deal

out here for those who are new to working with the Boy Scouts. As he caught up to Team 5, Mike Harzog, the Park Service’s safety officer for this project, explained his amazement that people would not only volunteer to break rocks, fill holes, and rake roots for a week, but would pay $250 for that, um, privilege. “Sometimes you go home and turn

the news on and see some stories about young people these days that make it easy to give up,” Harzog said. “But seeing these kids out here, it makes you believe again.” In exchange, Harzog said the Park Service hopes to give SummitCorps members an insight into their vast knowledge of the outdoors. Building multiuse trails, for instance. Although plenty of Arrowmen

who came to work the New River Gorge this past summer had done trail work before, many had never built a multiuse bike trail. “Usually, for trail work, you just go into the woods and start raking,” said Cole Coates, an Arrowman from Weirton, W.Va. “This work is more meticulous.” Much more. Trees have to be

removed. Roots must be dug out. The trail tread has to be reduced. All of the organic material has to be removed from the trail, lest any leftover roots threaten the drainage. Rocks must be dug up, chipped

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