The great thing about working trails is hiking trails. That’s the reason we do this kind of work, right? After two consecutive Saturdays clearing rails ties that have littered the Rockingham Recreational Trail for years, SCA Manchester decided to come together in a sort of celebration to hike the six mile round trip all the way to Massabesic Lake. The group pondered preparing for hitch season, and Aria laid out the basic principles of Leave No Trace while we walked the arbor corridor.
The first part of the day, the high school members spent some time performing trail assessment of the newly cleared rail trail. Marking hazards, describing tread width and composition, noting ownership and management of the trail itself. All of these skills cultivate the next generation of conservation leaders and workers. The members determined that the rail trail is a flat, multi-purpose recreational trail that is great for both commuters needing access to the city of Manchester and recreators seeking solitude at the beautiful Massabesic Lake. Additionally, even after performing a multitude of collective hours rehabbing the trail, the members concluded that resident yard waste, tree hazards, and garbage are still concerns that plague the Rockingham trail.
Along the way, members were tested by environmental ethics questions by co-leader Chelsea Kibbe. Students were challenged with questions thoughtful questions: “Do you need electricity to have fun?” and “Do humans have an obligation to solve environmental issues?” Members thoughtfully answered these questions and debated their reasonings developing their environmental education skills.
After the three mile long hike to Massabesic Lake in the warm spring sun, members were challenged with “Survival.” Groups of students had to use their previous developed reasoning skills to assess which items might help them survive a catastrophe in the wilderness. These moments can promote consensus between the group and it can also drive wedges between those who disagree. Both of these are experiences worth nothing when working in groups. However, in the end, agreeing to disagree and recognizing our differences when developing solutions is what SCA Manchester seeks to promote.
As the group walked back, discussing the upcoming Earth Day event at the Massabesic Audubon Center, the group dreamed about one day being able to use the trail to commute to future Earth Day events. And all this would be made possible by the 2012 SCA Manchester community crew program.