Under a white, wintry sky, nearly two-dozen union members volunteered to rebuild a 100-foot wooden bridge on a public trail in the Black Hills.
“When you’ve got skilled workers with the right tools, the work goes quick,” says Dana Garry, who manages the 109-mile Mickelson Trail for South Dakota’s Department of Game, Fish and Parks. In two days, the volunteers rebuilt abutments and replaced the bridge surface and railing. “It was just amazing,” she said. “These volunteers fill an important need.”
The volunteer effort was put together by a program called Boots on the Ground by the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA), a national nonprofit organization of union members who share a love of hunting, fishing and the outdoors. This year, the USA held nine major volunteer efforts from Illinois and Ohio, where union members built wild boar traps and taught children with autism to fish, respectively, to Southern California, where volunteers helped renew the Bolsa Chica wetlands.
“Boots on the Ground is a great way for union members to get involved locally,” says USA’s Executive Director Fred Myers. “We do all kinds of stuff. We mentor kids. We conserve habitat. We improve public access. It’s all about making America a better place to pass on to our children.”
Read the rest of the In Our Communities website feature: Ground Game: USA Helps Renew Wildlife Areas.