The Shawnee National Forest is looking for a few good men and women, young and old for its Shawnee Volunteer Corps.
The Forest Service has a number of trail service days set up from now until early November on both sides of the forest at Panther Den Wilderness Area on the west side and the Garden of the Gods Wilderness Area on the east side.
The Volunteer Corps kicked off the trail-building season last Saturday with about 15 people who completed 152 feet of trail that's been re-routed at Panther's Den. The trail is also part of the River-to-River Trail.
"It was wonderful… it's very productive," said Kelly Pearson, a wilderness technician and volunteer coordinator for the forest.
Volunteers will be joining Shawnee National Forest employees in the stewardship efforts.
"And with the fall colors as your backdrop coupled with cooler, crisper temperatures, each work day will encompass a fun, hands on, teamwork centered approach," she added.
Pearson's goal is to have up to 25 people, "so everybody can have a good experience and we can keep everybody safe."
"Last year we had 6,302 hours of volunteer hours on the forest," said Pearson. "That's pretty impressive. We want people to be part of that."
Last year volunteers helped rebuild about 3/4 of a mile of trail.
"It is definitely trail-building. It's not rocket science. It's easier to do than people think," she added.
Although Panther's Den isn't a well-known as Garden of the Gods, it's still heavily visited, Pearson explained.
"There are people out there just about every day of the year," she said.
There are eight more trail days scheduled this year. Persons wanting to work need to pre-register with the forest office by calling (618) 833-8576, or e-mailing Pearson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sept. 29: River to River Connecter Trail in Panther Den 9:30 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Oct. 6th: Indian Point Trail in Garden of the Gods 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Oct. 13th: River to River Connecter Trail in Panther Den 9:30 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Oct. 20th: River to River Connecter Trail in Panther Den 9:30 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Oct. 21st: Indian Point Trail in Garden of the Gods 1 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Oct. 28th: River to River Connecter Trail in Panther Den 9:30 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Nov. 3rd: River to River Connecter Trail in Panther Den 9:30 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Nov. 4th: Indian Point Trail in Garden of the Gods 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Volunteers are asked to wear long pants, sturdy shoes and to also bring a lunch and water bottle for each volunteer day.