Duluth Parks and Rec needs ongoing volunteer supportJudy Gibbs, trails coordinator for the Duluth Parks and Recreation Division, is seeking volunteers to support long-term, ongoing tree- and ground-restoration projects.
By: Thomas Vaughn, Duluth Budgeteer News
Judy Gibbs, trails coordinator for the Duluth Parks and Recreation Division, is seeking volunteers to support long-term, ongoing tree- and ground-restoration projects.
“We still have a lot of flood-related work to complete, things like restoring trail surfaces that got washed away and brushing out ski trails. We’re going to have tree-planting parties and we’ll need volunteers to help with that too,” said Gibbs.
Mary Slattery has volunteered as a trail worker since her move to Duluth two years ago. She spoke to the benefits of participation.
“I’ve been saying to the young people that this is a wonderful opportunity not only to help the city, but it will also help you. If you do good work, it will help you get good future references. Plus, it’s fun,” said Slattery.
Groups work by neighborhood. They repair boardwalks and displaced bridges, walk through areas to survey damage, and locate washouts and culvert damage. Gibbs cited Hartley, Lincoln Park and Piedmont as areas of acute need.
Mike Nordin, a trail volunteer since 2006, lives in the Chester Creek area, but has worked all over the city for Gibbs. Recently, he walked the Stewart Creek in the Smithville neighborhood.
“As you come down toward Smithville from the mouth of the creek, it was clogged and there was a lot of debris. So, the force of the water coming down the hill did a lot of erosion damage. That’s where I think a lot of the work will need to be done, along the lower portions,” Nordin said.
Nordin added that any homeowners can help the city by taking some time to survey the damage right in their immediate living areas. Then, information gathered can be worked into a plan for group work through Gibbs, who has been asked by FEMA and other agencies to photo-document and collect GPS coordinates of streams.
“I would encourage anyone who wants to walk a stream to do so and look at it. The flood has changed our streams remarkably. Just look at what’s happened where you are, rather than trying to remedy it. That way, data can be collected first and a good plan for remedying the situation can be implemented.”
To register or volunteer at any group work event, contact City of Duluth volunteer coordinator Cheryl Skafte at (218) 393-9879 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Gibbs can also be reached at (218) 269-4712 or email@example.com.
“Anytime we can get a group of folks to come out, it’s a lot more fun because people come with passion and knowledge and a willingness to help,” Gibbs said.