This time of year, it’s good to reflect on the people you’re thankful for. And here at Friends of Scotchman Peaks Wilderness, we’re thankful for the many volunteers that make our work possible. Whether it’s educating local classrooms about their wild backyard, making and improving trails or reaching out to the public, they make wilderness better for everyone.
We recently spoke to two of our volunteers about their experiences working with FSPW. Bernard Sheldon is a key member of the summer trail crews, maintaining the pathways that connect people to wilderness. If you’ve ever hiked a trail in the Scotchman Peaks area, you’ve enjoyed his work.
Friends of Scotchman Peaks Wilderness: What inspired you to volunteer this year?
Bernard Sheldon: It just occurred to me that this was something that I could do to give back. The concept of having something that I could do on my own was compelling, as well. I wasn’t sure that you’d want me given my age and COVID (the questionnaire online had me admitting to risk factors, primarily my age). But working outdoors well separated seemed to be very low risk for me.
FSPW: What was your most memorable section of trail?
BS: All the trails I’ve worked on have been memorable, for different reasons. Goat Peak for the climb to get to the worksite and trail building conditions were a chore — lots of loose rocks embedded in a little bit of soil makes for hard labor to create trail tread! The Ross Creek trail we worked on parallels the creek — very pretty and suggests some great camping spots. And finally the trail that’s “mine,” to adopt and thus maintain, had a surprise at the end: an old mine shaft on a cool, flowing creek (in early September).
FSPW: Would you recommend volunteering with us again? Why?
BS: Can’t wait! I’ve been introduced to some interesting, sometimes gorgeous, territory. Gotten great workouts and had an excuse to play in the dirt! Met some nice people. And gained some bragging rights — “Yup, been doin’ trail maintenance. Nothin’ like swinging a pick mattock for a few hours to straighten out the old attitude.”