Marines Partner with Sierra Club Hawaii to Restore Popular Hiking Trail
Today's guest blogger is Jen Homcy, from our Chapter in Hawaii who are doing great work with the Kaneohe Marine Corps Base in Hawaii and other military families and veterans in the Islands.
In February, the Sierra Club Hawaii Chapter rekindled an old flame and the timing couldn't have been better. Karley Peterson, coordinator of the Single Marine and Sailor Program (SMSP) at Kaneohe Marine Corp Base reached out to the Chapter for a volunteer partnership. At the same time the Chapter was nurturing another partnership with the State Department of Land and Natural Resource's Na Ala Hele Trails Program. The project: To restore the most heavily used trail on Oahu, The Manoa Falls Trail.
For many of Hawaii's visitors, this trail may be their only nature experience. Its close proximity to Waikiki and the University of Hawaii at Manoa, its short distance (0.8 miles each way), lush tropical forrest, crystal clear stream, and waterfall make it a top choice for locals, tour guides and tourists alike. With over 100,000 hikers a year, the trail is in dire need of some serious restoration work in order to protect the natural resources and make it safe again.
For the Hawaii Chapter, having the Marines involved has been awesome! These men and women have come out in force giving time, muscle, and energy in such an uplifting way that I can't imagine the project without them.
This is a year long project with two (and sometimes three) six hour work days a month. It aims to recruit an average of twenty volunteers per work day with two Sierra Club Leaders, a co-leader and coordinator, all of which are managed by a Na Ala Hele manager. With a need for over 500 workers this year alone, the Marines have played an essential role in fulfilling those numbers.
But the Marines are not alone. Combined with other enlisted personnel and veterans from all branches of the military, service men and women have made up over one third of the 200 volunteers on the project so far and the numbers are increasing.
Moving forward, we will continue to nurture our new relationships, build our capacity to engage new volunteers, develop more partnerships, and work to establish a new community of service volunteers by bringing our military partnerships outdoors.
Thank you to all of our service men and women for all that they do to protect our land and water, both here at home and overseas. We are forever indebted to you for your service and we look forward to giving back by continuing to connect people to our open and wild spaces, the spaces you all fight so hard to protect for all Americans!
For more information on the Hawaii porjects, please contact Jennifer Homcy at [email protected]
"Helping America's Military and Veteran Community experience the freedom of the land they defend"