Check out this article, courtesy of Daily American Republic.
A group of local volunteers has earned a national award for its work to improve trails in the region. The Poplar Bluff Trails Coalition was recently named the winner of the Restoration Partner Award. This award is for the Eastern Region of the USDA Forest Service, according to a press release from the local USDA office.
It recognizes the extensive help PBTC has provided the Poplar Bluff Ranger District in recovery from a May 2020 significant wind event, as well as other work.
“They have provided valuable assistance locally in Poplar Bluff and on many trails and recreation sites across the ranger district,” said Cheri Dorshak, who is the district ranger for the Poplar Bluff Ranger District.
The 2020 event dropped many trees across trails.
“The trails already required attention and maintenance before the storm, but afterwards, they were in very bad shape,” district rangers shared. “The need for logging out downed trees, brushing back vegetation from the trail corridor, installing signs and repairing facilities at trailheads added up to a daunting workload; but PBTC volunteers answered the call to action.”
Dorshak said she has been very impressed with PBTC and how well it has worked in coordination with recreation staff on the district.
“We are very thankful for everyone that volunteers with us, and I have been impressed with this group’s commitment to public service. They definitely deserve this recognition, and we look forward to continuing to work with them in the future,” said Dorshak.
Wilderness and trails manager Jon Breithaupt nominated the group for the Eastern Region’s award. The Eastern Region is one of nine Forest Service administrative regions, consisting of 17 national forests (including Mark Twain National Forest) and one national tallgrass prairie. It crosses 20 states and the District of Columbia.
PBTC began working with Mark Twain in April 2021.
“Rather quickly, this volunteer group began adopting more and more miles of trail for maintenance on the forest,” said Breithaupt. “With agency constraints limiting our available human and financial resources for this type of work, PBTC has stepped up to provide high quality trail experiences for hikers, trail runners, mountain bikers and equestrians. They’re very deserving of this recognition.”
The region also offers a new “Trail Stewards” program, through which PBTC has restored more than 54 miles of Forest Service trails.
It provided stewardship of four trailheads and tackled deferred maintenance work such as painting benches, kiosks, and picnic tables.
It also secured fire rings at recreation sites to deter any future thieves.
Last year, the group also cleaned up extensive amounts of trash that had been dumped along Wolf Creek Road. PBTC has provided much needed assistance at: Wolf Creek Trail System, including Wolf Creek Trail, Crooked branch Trail, Oak Ridge Trail, Cane Creek Trail, Still Hollow Trail, all three trailheads, and Wolf Creek Road. It has also worked with 16 miles of the Ozark Trail along the Victory and Wappapello sections Eagle Bluff Trail, Pinewoods Lake Trail, trailheads at 172 Loop Trail, Victory Horse Trail, and Wrangler Trail, working in conjunction with Backcountry Horsemen of Missouri River Spring Chapter.
If you would like to join up with or learn more about the Poplar Bluff Trails Coalition, please visit its website at poplarblufftrails.org.