Chair Archive

Chair's Report

April, 2008

Chair: Tom Ortmeyer

I recently was on the west coast for a conference, and had an extra day for some sightseeing. I had checked the web, and saw several state parks along the coast north of Santa Cruz—one of which offered Sunday morning walks to view the sea lions in their winter grounds. When driving north along the coast, I came to a park where a group was gathering, so I pulled in and asked if I could join them. The answer was “Sure!” I got out of the car to find out that I had joined a group of volunteer trail workers—not quite what I had expected.

But I did join them and had a great time working on the trails. The trails were there for mountain bikers, hikers, joggers, and those just out for an afternoon walk. There were no rocks there—so we worked in clay and gravel. Plus it was at least 40 degrees warmer there than it was in St. Lawrence County that day. Other than that, there were many similarities between that group of trail volunteers and our groups that come out to enjoy the outdoors. They were out doing trail maintenance that would otherwise not get done. Their commitment to the trails in that park was a big part of the reason that the trails remained open and accessible. There were two park rangers working along with us, but they were part of the group, not running the show. And yes, I did have to sign the form, so was an official “employee” of the state of California for the day. And they too issue press releases (see www.trailworkers.com/newsdetails.cfm?NewsID=240).

It is clear that the Laurentian Chapter plays a similar and important role locally. Our trail stewardship has a significant impact on the community, as do our outings. The outings impact far more people than those who come on the trip—they let many know about the broad range of our favorite activities that exists here. We should take pride in this, and work together to continue these programs, and expand them where possible. I challenge you all to lead a trip, come out for trail work this summer, or write letters in response to the club’s action alerts. Why not do all three?