Voluntourism, dedicating your vacation time to volunteer for a worthy cause, is a growing trend because it gives travelers fun and exciting opportunities to give back to the great outdoors. Planning your own outdoor service adventure, however, can be time-intensive and expensive, so why not let an organization with over 30 years of experience help you out? The American Hiking Society does the trip planning for you, making it easier than ever to take part in budget-friendly Volunteer Vacations, aimed to improve America’s natural landscapes and hiking trails.
In 2011, American Hiking is offering more than 70 volunteer opportunities across the country to build and preserve hiking trails in sought after destinations like Yosemite National Park, Chugach National Forest, Virgin Islands National Park, and Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge.
Your crew will consist of 6-15 volunteers and you will have the guidance and supervision of an experienced crew leader. Food, park entrance fees, campsite or cabin use, tools and a one-year membership with American Hiking Society are all included in your registration fee of $275, making American Hiking’s Volunteer Vacations an inexpensive way to travel the country, while doing something good for the land and your spirit.
Many trips are rated easy-moderate and offer indoor accommodations, while others offer the challenge and opportunity to hike into some of our country’s treasured public lands and sleep under the stars. While American Hiking does advise that all volunteers be in good physical condition, most trips are designed for volunteers who are novices to trail building and no special skills are required. All trips offer down-time for hiking, local attractions, and campfire camaraderie.
Voluntourism is based on finding the balance between a relaxing vacation and achieving a sense of purpose. American Hiking provides affordable volunteer trips that take the stress out of vacation planning while offering you one of the most fulfilling ways to explore and improve our nation’s recreational trails.
As of today in the Southern Appalachian region, opportunities are available during the 2011 season in the Big South Fork, on the Benton MacKaye Trail in the Cherokee National Forest, on the Rhododendron Trail in Virginia's Grayson Highlands State Park, and on the Appalachian Trail in the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests, among others.
To learn more about the American Hiking Society and view the 2011 Volunteer Vacation’s trip schedule, visit www.AmericanHiking.org or call (301) 565-6704.
Volunteer Vacations are made possible by the generous support of the American Hiking Society sponsors - REI, Fetzer, Mountain Hardwear, Vasque, Klean Kanteen, and Backpacker's Pantry, as well as their Federal Public Land Partners - Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, USDA Forest Service, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.