Spring Break on the Trail

Many think of spring break as a deserved respite from hard work- a week to relax, take a vacation, or catch up on errands and school work.  This is not the mindset of the dedicated trail stewards that spent their spring break giving back to trails and public lands through American Hiking Society’s Alternative Break program.  This spring, 150 college-aged students and young professionals dedicated their spring break to assist park managers with vital trail maintenance and building projects- backlogged work that most likely would not be completed without the aid of these spring breakers.

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Wilmington University makes an impact at James River State Park, VA

Hailing from 11 different colleges and universities, and AmeriCorps, volunteers pledged to forego the traditional “party mentality” often associated with spring break and instead adopted a “stewardship mentality” to make a positive impact on trails.  The majority of participants in the Alternative Break program had not participated in an outdoor stewardship trip prior to their Alternative Break experience with American Hiking Society.  However, they left the program understanding the importance of trail maintenance, bonded with their peers and trail crew comrades, and educated and inspired about land management careers and techniques.


Georgetown University enjoys a free day to explore the area after a week of trail work and fun!

Project hosts are grateful for the additional volunteers during their spring season- a bustling time for land managers as they prepare their trails for the rush of summer visitors.  Students from Georgetown University volunteered in Pocahontas State Park, VA and proved to be a vital resource to the trails and staff morale.  “They had great attitudes and work ethic.  In fact, their drive and ability surpassed the expectations of staff members here!  They helped us get our new hiking trail on its way to completion, and more importantly, proved to park staff that volunteers can have a huge impact on our workload, as well as make our days a lot more fun!” comments Andrea H., Volunteer Coordinator.

Thank you to the following colleges, universities, and service groups for spending your spring break making a difference to trails:

University of New Hampshire student stewards pose on a newly built trail staircase.

AmeriCorps, WI
Cleveland State University, OH
Colby College, ME
George Williams College, WI
Georgetown University, DC
Northeastern University, MA
Ohio State University, OH
Princeton University, NJ
Sarah Lawrence College, NY
University of New Hampshire, NH
Virginia Commonwealth University, VA
Wilmington University, DE

For more information about American Hiking Society’s Alternative Break program, visit HERE.