Trail Crew gives students an opportunity to give back to the community

Michael Bragg

The Appalachian State University Trail Crew held a workday at Grandfather Mountain State Park on Saturday that was open to all students.

The workday, which was held at the Profile Trail of the park, consisted of mostly rehabilitation work, said ASU Trail Crew president James Lautzenheiser.

“Despite the weather limitations the crew faced, we were able to work on roughly the first half mile of the trail,” Lautzenheiser said.

Lautzenheiser said that rain persisted throughout the day Saturday, shortening the crew’s workday by a couple hours, but did not affect the quality of the work that was completed.

Jobs done by the crew included using pulaski axes to rebuild and create new water bars and drainage systems, loppers to trim branches hanging into the trail, and shovels to remove areas of overgrown brush.

“Everyone kept on rolling with the plan and continued to work hard at the tasks at hand even with the heavy rain,” Lautzenheiser said. “Morale tends to be the biggest factor on whether we get our jobs accomplished, and there was plenty of it on Saturday.”

The crew was accompanied by a pair of North Carolina Park Rangers that helped lead the workday.

“It was a very successful day overall,” Lautzenheiser said. “Saturday showed me that students truly care about taking care of the area we live in and making it better for others around them.”

Fifteen students attended the event, including Olivia Sanders, a sophomore geology major.

“Being part of trail crew means I can advance my understanding of conservation and bring together people with all types of experience,” Sanders said. “I get to give back to the Boone community through something I love, as well.”

Eric Frauman, the club’s faculty adviser, said the club provides a great way to serve, volunteer and give back to others while enjoying the great outdoors.

“People really get caught up in the service and social aspect of giving back to the land,” Frauman said. “It becomes addictive and will always be a part of those who participate.”

To make up for not requiring dues in order to participate, Frauman said that money is raised through fundraising, specifically an event called Gear Swap.

“If anyone has clothes or equipment that are not being used anymore, they can show up to Sanford Mall and sell, trade and buy items,” Frauman said. “Companies such as Footsloggers and Regear Outdoors attend the events, which helps bring attention.”

This semester’s Gear Swap will be held Oct. 2 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sanford Mall.

The majority of the money raised is used to provide tools for the crew to use when building and maintaining trails. The trail crew or state rangers at the state parks provide all tools, Lautzenheiser said.

“Trail crew is not about the physical work for everyone who joins,” Frauman said. “There are ways to get involved and help expand the trail crew’s boundaries by spreading the word amongst other things.”

Story: GERRIT VAN GENDEREN, News Reporter