On the heels of its successful “Boots on the Ground” outdoors rehabilitation initiative for hunting and fishing areas, the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA) has launched a new “Adopt-A-Park” program to help renew, rebuild and restore the nation’s state parks.
There are more than 6,600 state parks in the United States with more than 14 million acres of open space, 41,725 miles of trails, 207,063 campsites and 7,161 cabins.
But parks around the nation are continually faced with budget cuts and looming closures. The budget pressures have created a backlog of repair and restoration projects just waiting for capable and experienced craftsmen. That’s where the USA’s Adopt-A-Park program comes in.
The program will call on its 60,000 union members to use their skills and volunteer to complete the repair and rehabilitation projects that if left undone would deny access to the outdoors to millions of visitors, or even force closure of parks.
The initial project is under way in Cedar Hill State Park in Texas. The park has a number of bridges that are warped and dangerous for hikers.
Volunteers from Plumbers and Pipe Fitters (UA) Local 100, Beard Integrated Systems, Brandt Engineering and possibly Elevator Constructors (IUEC), Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT), International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (SMART), Electrical Workers (IBEW) and other unions will reconstruct and secure the bridges to provide safe hiking opportunities for the public.
USA Executive Director Fred Myers says that over the past several years, the group’s members have done some “amazing conservation work” and now:
It’s important to look toward the future impact we can have on America’s outdoor heritage, Whether restoring a weathered visitors center or rebuilding the park ranger station, USA members will come together through Adopt-A-Park to exhibit pride, craftsmanship, dedication and unity while demonstrating to all park visitors the best of what being union in America really means.
USA officials have met with the National Association of State Parks Directors and the America’s State Parks Foundation to explore and develop a rollout of exciting signature projects in selected parks across the country.