A partnership between the U.S. Forest Service, Michigan Tech University and non-profit group Veterans Trek of Milwaukee is helping to get accurate data on infrastructure of the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest.
Forest spokesperson Hilary Markin outlines the veteran's efforts...
"....so their out there collecting photos, where the bridge is, the culverts, interpretive signs, doing a trail assessment. All the little features out there on the grounds. It will help identify our trail maintenance needs, update our GIS, and help produce an accurate map of the Forest. The biggest help is to identify our trail maintenance needs. More eyes and ears on the grounds help us in the long run...."
Staff from the Forest met with the Veterans Trek members to discuss how the work they are doing contributes to the overall data management of the trail system and work on the trails themselves.
Markin says the veterans report getting a return for their time spent in the woods...
"....for the veterans, this is a great time for them to be outside, enjoy the camraderie of other veterans. Just the peacefulness the woods brings to them...."
Most of the work the volunteers perform includes hiking and visiting popular recreation trails on the Forest. The crew is finishing up their work on the hiking and ski trails on the east side of the Forest and plan to return this fall to inventory trails on the west side of the Forest.
Forest staff also took the time to discuss career opportunities in the Forest Service and how to apply to Forest Service jobs.