Hiking and backpacking provides a solitude that I enjoy and rarely get to experience in my daily life. I plan trips, make gear, train and do most other hiking related activities by myself. Yet there is a larger community of outdoor enthusiasts that I am a part of.
The Louisiana Hiking Club has been bringing hikers together in our state since 1997. They organize hiking trips, provide workshops, lend out gear and provide a chance for hikers in Louisiana to meet one another. The club also volunteers to provide maintenance for local trails and even helps to build some.
This past Saturday (12-17-16) club members joined the BREC Conservation Department in building a new 1.5 mile trail at the Kendalwood Conservation Area. Over 30 volunteers from different groups helped to build this new trail which adds to a growing list in the Baton Rouge area. BREC Conservation employees were on hand to supervise and provide their expertise in identifying plants and animals, even rerouting the trail after a marbled salamander was discovered as to not disturb it's habitat.
Volunteers also discovered a worm snake while working.
This was my first experience with trail building and I was glad to see that the area was old growth, with little understory to cut through. Working with hand tools such as loppers, rakes, and handsaws, we made quick work of the project that took around 5 hours. It was really cool to see volunteers of different generations, backgrounds, and outdoor experience coming together to help improve our community. For me, being a part of this community means doing more. By joining with others we can help make our city just a little bit better for everyone.