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Two students maintain, improve mountain trails

Aug. 09, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

SPRUCE KNOB, W.Va. -- Two Putnam County students, Jared Wollaber and Quaid Pendleberry, spent part of the summer maintaining and improving trails at the Mountain Institute's Mountain Trail Monitors summer program.

The program recruits students to help monitor and maintain trails in West Virginia's Monongahela National Forest. This summer, five student crews were based in the Seneca Creek Backcountry, Laurel Fork Wilderness and the East Fork areas of the forest, maintaining 45 miles of trails.

Funding for the program comes from a grant through the US Forest Service and the Secure Rural Schools Act, which invests money in the communities that use and care for federal lands. The grant awarded to TMI allows three more weeks of the program to run next summer, according to a news release.

Each trip begins with an introduction to camping, group living, and the principles of sustainable trail maintenance. Days are spent working on the trails, while evenings are dedicated to wilderness skills such as camp craft, survival, fire building, Leave No Trace ethics, and map and compass reading, as well as fun campfire activities.

Following a week in the woods, participants head to Spruce Knob Mountain Center to relax before culminating their experience with a hike up Spruce Knob, the highest point in West Virginia.

All food, equipment, and instruction are provided without a fee to students. For more information on MTM, visit www.mountain.org/mtm.