As AHS wraps up our 2023 Volunteer Vacation season, it’s time to reflect on a year of impactful contributions to trail conservation and the great outdoors.
A Look At The Numbers
The American Hiking Society had an impactful year in 2023, running an impressive 31 week-long Volunteer Vacation programs. With a diverse group of 274 participants spanning ages from 18 to 90 and representing over 26 different states, our volunteer community showcased the beauty of intergenerational and interregional collaboration.
Dedicated crews contributed their efforts to over 45 trails, leaving an indelible mark on the outdoor spaces they touched. Our volunteers’ hard work resulted in the construction of 7 miles of new trail and the maintenance and improvement of a staggering 110 miles of existing trails.
However, these numbers represent more than just statistics; they signify a shared commitment to preserving and enhancing our nation’s trails. As we reflect on the achievements of 2023, we look forward to continued growth and impact in the years to come. Each statistic tells a story of camaraderie, hard work, and a dedication to the great outdoors.
Feedback From Our Volunteer Vacation Partners
AHS takes pride in building and maintaining long-lasting relationships with the parks and organizations that host Volunteer Vacations. Here’s what some of our esteemed partners have to say about the 2023 season:
“Working with AHS was an amazing experience for our organization. The volunteers who joined us were a joy to work with – they were motivated, positive, and as passionate about trails as we are! It means so much to us that these folks spent their hard-earned vacation time to contribute to our local efforts to revitalize trails.”– Tuolumne River Trust
“Volunteer Vacationers always bring new energy, perspective, and spirit to our projects. Not only do we get lots done, but we have so much fun doing it. We work, but also laugh, tell stories, and swap experiences. In the end, we all take great pride in the finished product.”– Adirondack Park
“We highly recommend the Volunteer Vacation program to any organization in need of passionate volunteers. Thank you, AHS, for your invaluable support and partnership!”– Cumberland Trails Conference
These testimonials highlight the positive impact of AHS’s Volunteer Vacation program, showcasing the dedication and passion that volunteers bring to each project. The collaborative efforts between AHS and its partners not only contribute to trail maintenance but also create a vibrant community united by a shared love for nature and conservation.
One Trip and You’re Hooked
While your first Volunteer Vacation may be intimidating if you have never done trail maintenance before, participants consistently express their enduring love for the program, encouraging others to embark on this enriching journey with AHS.
A first-time volunteer from the Adirondack Park trip describes their experience as “a lifetime of adventure,” finding clearing trails to be “both exhilarating and satisfying.” Committed to returning for another adventure with AHS, this volunteer embodies the lasting impact of these trips.
For those in the 2023 South Cumberland State Park trip, Volunteer Vacations have evolved into a tradition: “This was our 7th VV. And the crew members are so interesting with different backgrounds! We have made lifelong friends from these trips.”
The significance of the bonding from these trips cannot be overstated, as echoed by a participant from the 2023 Wayne National Forest trip: “Two people I was with on the AHS Pictured Rocks trip were on this trip, and it was so wonderful to see them again. Can’t wait to do another trip. The support, cooperation, and communication were outstanding!”
These heartfelt stories encapsulate the camaraderie, adventure, and fulfillment that Volunteer Vacations offer. Join us, and you might find yourself not just maintaining trails but forging lifelong connections and making memories that fuel a desire to return year after year.
Looking Ahead to 2024!
If you missed out on the 2023 Volunteer Vacations or are already ready to sign up for your next adventure, make sure to keep an eye on the 2024 schedule which will be released on the AHS website soon. Click here to learn more about Volunteer Vacations and how to get involved.