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In The Outdoors

Program offers volunteers last chance<BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;to work on Pacific Crest Trail projects<BR>

If you hiked through the Oregon and southern Washington sections of the Pacific Crest Trail this summer, you may have come across a pioneering group of volunteers.

October is the month to volunteer alongside them.

Part of a new initiative sponsored by the Pacific Crest Trail Association and the Northwest Service Academy's Mt. Adams Center in Trout Lake, the program pairs AmeriCorps field teams with volunteers for a variety of trail reconstruction, tread rehabilitation, brushing and drainage maintenance projects.

"Working on the Pacific Crest Trail is physically demanding, but we are rewarded by spectacular scenery, bright stars at night and amazing sunrises and sunsets," Stephanie Ludlow, a 24-year-old AmeriCorps team member, said.

Volunteers work with an experienced field team of seven college-aged AmeriCorps members who are fulfilling their term of service by leading and working on Pacific Crest Trail projects. (Each AmeriCorps team consists of two leaders and five members.) Volunteers bring only the personal gear they would need on any other backpacking trip. No experience is necessary, and all training, tools and meals are provided.

"The AmeriCorps team was a quality group of young people who I enjoyed spending time with, on and off the trail," Ian Nelson, trail association representative for northern California and southern Oregon, said. "They were eager to learn and extremely hard workers who got a great deal of excellent work done on the trail."

The team will finish the season in October, working on three weekend projects near Table Mountain and Panther Creek in Skamania County. By the end of its first season, the team will have worked with more than 60 volunteers on 15 projects during 18 weeks of service.

Interested volunteers should visit www.mtadamscenter.com to find out how to volunteer.

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