From Muddy to Magnificent: Five Land Transformations


(Pictured above: SCA Gulf Corps crew members ripped up a dilapidated boardwalk that ran through a coastal pine savanna on Dauphin Island, AL. Fire-certified members helped burn the area and then members rebuilt this 1,000-foot-long boardwalk. See more amazing tansformations below.)

Last year SCA members improved more than 3,000 miles of trails, protected more than 935,000 feet of shoreline, and restored over 100,000 acres of land and habitat. These improvements provided safer routes for hikers and others who are exploring nature while also helping the environment by implementing sustainable solutions. Below we’ve compiled a list of before and after photos from five SCA projects this past season showcasing the progress accomplished by our members!

1. Leominster Hitch Turnpike – Leominster, MA

The Leominster Hitch Turnpike was constructed by a three-person SCA crew over 10 days. The turnpike is meant to provide increased access for people with disabilities and better drainage diversion for water from the oncoming hillside towards future culverts.

2. Fillmore Glen State Park – Moravia, NY

At Fillmore Glen State Park, a washed out switchback was replaced with timber box steps by the New York State Parks Corps.

3. Watkins Glen State Park – Watkins Glen, NY

At Watkins Glen State Park, timber steps with dry stone retaining wall were built by the New York State Parks Corps. This structure leads to a new lookout point. 

4. Wilkins Elementary School – Pittsburgh, PA

This crew did a lot of cool projects, but the most impressive was a large staircase going down a steep hill. It starts out as traditional check steps, but then partway down morphs into modified box steps. In total, there are 21 steps in this winding staircase. In addition to being functional this is really gorgeous and makes for an amazing entryway into the natural space.

5. Helena National Forest – Helena, MT

The alumni crew, made up of 10 members ranging in age from 18-46, completed three major projects on the Continental Divide Trail at the Helena National Forest in Montana. They installed a turnpike on a very muddy and dangerous area of the trail over a brook, allowing hikers to pass more easily. In this section below, which was almost entirely impassable, the crew installed a turnpike, bridge and widened the trail so that hikers, horses, and their riders could enjoy the entirety of it.

Transformations like these make what we do every day that much more rewarding. But none of it would be possible without people like you. As we continue to strive to make more impact, we thank you for standing with us to make change possible in the lives or our members and on the lands we treasure. If you would like to support these and other projects, please make a gift today.


Student Conservation Association