Giving Back with Wilderness Adventures

By Wilderness Adventures February 26, 2014

2013 Community Service Successes at Home and Abroad, Part 2

Yellowstone Teton Service

The Yellowstone Teton Service trips offers students the unique opportunity to explore the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (affectionately known as the GYE), while simultaneously improving it for future generations. The service components of this adventure focus on trail work, allowing participants to gain a deeper understanding of the time and effort that go into our country’s vast network of trails and natural spaces. Not only is it impressive that we have such an infrastructure to take advantage of, but it is also incredible how much work is required to maintain it. The Yellowstone Teton Service trip teaches us that our trails allow us deep into our country’s most beautiful and pristine spaces, and through their improvement we can not only continue to gain access but also ensure sustainable, healthy use for the surrounding ecosystems.

In the summer of 2013, Wilderness Adventures did extensive work on the trails in the Bridger-Teton National Forest, trails that are treasured by both hikers and mountain bikers. Our groups’ work focused mainly on ensuring proper drainage to avoid erosion and provide the best experience possible for trial-users. In an area like Jackson, trail traffic is extremely heavy in the summer months. Hence, trail work in this area has a vast affect on the health of the environment and the enjoyment of both tourists and residents alike.

Leaders Max Brandstadt and Anna Bastidas had this to share about their students’ experiences:

“The Yellowstone Teton Service trip exposes participants to the ecological considerations and work required for trail construction and maintenance. Trips of this kind can be incredibly rewarding experiences for students because participants learn to embrace the challenges of backcountry living and trail building. At the end of each of our service projects it was apparent to me how proud our participants felt about what they had achieved. They often mentioned the sense of accomplishment they felt after the completion of a project as one of the highlights of their WA experience. I remember the cheers that erupted in camp as we watched a unicycle rider and a number of hikers make their way down the section of trail we had finished that afternoon. The kids couldn’t stop smiling for the rest of the evening. And then to walk out of the backcountry on the trail that we had built from start to finish made that feeling of accomplishment really hit home with everyone. “

Max elaborates on the unicyclist:

“I’ll never forget seeing the students’ faces light up as they watched our newly-built trail being used for the first time. It was getting dark, and we’d just eaten dinner, when, bizarrely, a unicyclist rode up the reroute that we’d just completed. Someone pointed, and laughed, and then everyone started cheering. The students had put in a solid two days of work on the trail, carving out a flat path where before there had only been brush. I think the unicyclist was a little taken aback. He fell over when he saw us.”

To read more specifics for the 2014 Yellowstone Teton Service trip, click here

By Adrian Croke