February 20, 2015

Project will clear overgrown trails

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Forestry students at Southern Illinois University Carbondale are among those who will be working to reclaim portions of overgrown trails at the Touch of Nature Environmental Center. 

Through the years, the surrounding forest has overtaken parts of the trail system, preventing full use of the area. The “Trail Heads” initiative will expand recreational and educational opportunities and connect the trail system with trails at nearby Giant City State Park, Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge and the River-to-River trail. 

The public is also welcome to help with the project. Experience is not required. Touch of Nature and others associated with the project will provide the tools and information on how to use them properly. Students under the direction of Logan Park, assistant professor of forestry, Touch of Nature staff, the university’s Department of Health Education and Recreation, and the U.S. Forest Service, will work on the project. 

Work sessions are set for 9 a.m. to noon and 1-4 p.m. on several Sundays: March 8 and 22, April 26, and May 3 and 10. People may volunteer for one or both sessions on any of those days. 

In addition, The Shawnee Volunteer Corps, led by Kelly Pierson of the U.S. Forest Service, will work on the Panther Den Wilderness Trailhead. Work will be March 15 and April 19.  Transportation from the Student Center to and from those sites will be available on a 14-passenger bus. 

Contact the Touch of Nature Environmental Center at 618/453-1121 to sign up to help with any part of the reclamation project.  Additional information is also available at www.ton.siu.edu