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Mark Twain National Forest – Volunteer Vacations 2021

September 26, 2021 - October 2, 2021

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The crew will help construct a brand new hiking trail from Greer Spring Trailhead to the historic Greer Mill. Volunteers will be trained on proper trail tread construction techniques. The trail will be flagged out in advance. The trailhead also provides access to Greer Spring — the largest spring on national forest system land. The area is exceptionally beautiful with tall hardwood forests, crystal clear rivers and springs and tons of unique history. If the project is completed early, priority trail maintenance work will occur at the Eagle Bluff Trail which is situated in the scenic Markham Springs Recreation Area. This work will include tread reconstruction, water bar installation, staircase maintenance, logging out trees and signing the trail. All training will be provided.

More information on the recently restored Greer Mill: In the 19th-century, water milling was an essential industry that provided farmers access to grain processing and, likewise, provided rural populations access to flour. Samuel Greer, an early settler of Oregon County, built Greer Mill in 1883 and, with his partner, George Mainprize, kept it in steady business until 1899. After this point, ownership of Greer Mill changed hands many times, but operations continued until 1920, at which time the mill was sold. Closure that year was, most likely, due to increased competition from the railroads, which, when routes were completed, could finally stretch through the Ozarks – railroads could bring in volumes of grain, flour, and other goods that the local mills could not match.

Greer Spring information: A popular day hike for Forest visitors. Greer Spring is the second largest spring in Missouri. Its average daily flow of 222 million gallons more than doubles the size of the Eleven Point National Scenic River into which it flows. The spring flows from two outlets about 250 feet apart at the bottom of a steep, shaded ravine at the terminus of the trail. The spring run drops 62 feet in elevation for 1.25 miles where it runs into the Eleven Point National Scenic River. Access to Greer Spring is via a 0.9 mile trail that descends about 250 feet in elevation along a gentle gradient from the trailhead at Missouri Highway 19. The trail to the spring travels through a mixture of hardwoods and pines. The overstory of trees, includes a variety of oaks, shortleaf pine, hickory, maples, basswood, and black gum. Hikers will also see flowering dogwoods, sassafras, persimmon, hazelnut, cedar, and hackberry.



Mark Twain National Forest
Greer Mill, Alton, Missouri 65606





Day hiking up to 2 miles each work day

Project Rating


Minimum Volunteer Age


Maximum Group Size


Area and Attractions

Volunteers will be working very close to Greer Spring, the largest spring on national forest system land. A 1-mile hiking trail winds down to the spring source. Work will take please near the Eleven Point National Scenic River. A nearby livery provides canoeing and kayaking opportunities on the river. The Ozark National Recreation Trail runs close by to the project site. This long distance hiking trails runs from St. Louis to the Arkansas border. Several moderately developed campgrounds are nearby. Outdoor opportunities are endless!

Accommodations Description

Volunteers will stay in Forest Service facilities in Winona, MO. 6 Shared rooms include either twin beds (limited) or bunk beds. Volunteers can also tent or trailer camp at nearby Greer Crossing Campground if they prefer. Although unlikely, if the host diverts to the backup project, the accommodations will change to car camping with water and vault toilets. Volunteers should bring a sleeping bag or linens and pillow, towels, cup/bowl/mug/eating utensils, and personal gear. If camping, volunteers should bring their own tent, sleeping bag/sleeping pad, cup/bowl/mug/eating utensils, and personal gear.


No aiport pickup provided for this trip. The closest airport is St. Louis Lambert International Airport. Meeting times will be sent to registrants when the trip is confirmed.