Outdoors blog

Trail crew boss divides teens, and conquers

Pat Hart, of the U.S. Forest Service, oversees volunteers as they work on a new trail near Brush Lake, 24 miles north of Bonners Ferry, Idaho, last month. Hart is getting a national award for programs that keep trails open for public use. (Kathy Plonka)
Pat Hart, of the U.S. Forest Service, oversees volunteers as they work on a new trail near Brush Lake, 24 miles north of Bonners Ferry, Idaho, last month. Hart is getting a national award for programs that keep trails open for public use. (Kathy Plonka)

PUBLIC LANDS -- Pat Hart, who manages maintenance of recreation sites and trails in the Bonner Ferry Ranger District, has become an expert of attracting and accommodating volunteers, from youths to seniors, to get seasonal jobs done on a slim Forest Service budget.

It takes more thought that you might think.

Every year, Camp Thunderbird, a Minnesota youth outdoor summer camp, buses out about 20 teenage boys and another group of 20 girls, a lot of them from cities like Chicago, for outdoor adventure in the West, including a couple weeks of service work on the Idaho Panhandle National Forests.

“The girls arrive on a different day than the boys,” Hart said.

“The camp promises to do a ton of work while they’re here. We promise to keep the boys and girls groups at least three drainages apart for the entire time.”




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Outdoors blog

Rich Landers writes and photographs stories for a wide range of outdoors coverage, including a Sunday feature section and a Thursday column.







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