Trails have played a pivotal role in the growth and development of our country, and in the history of exploration and conservation. Great expeditions, such as Lewis and Clark’s journey to explore the west, followed or created trails to gain access to new or significant natural areas. Poorly-designed or overused trails have led to environmental damage, leaving scars on the land that can be seen even today.
It’s no accident, then, that Michael Salat’s history class introduces students to sustainable trial building. This past week, Michael shared with students the role that trails have played in our history, including the work done during the Great Depression by the Civilian Conservation Corps, which rebuilt trails in an effort to recover land that had been degraded and eroded over time. After sharing the principles of sustainable trail construction, Michael and his students donned their protective gear (hard hats, eyewear, toe caps, and shin guards), grabbed the tools of the trade (either a pulaski or a McLeod), and observed Michael’s demonstration of the proper ways to carry and use the tools. As they walked to the shores of Lake Elaine, Michael pointed out the sustainable features of the single-track trail that circumnavigates the lake. Students then spent time improving a newly-rerouted section of the trail, in the process gaining insight into the amount of work needed to create sustainable trails. They also, no doubt, have gained a new understanding of the intersection of history, land use, and conservation.
Director of Admissions