December 4, 2019 Column
At the end of 2018 last December, I wrote a letter to our email subscribers that listed many of our accomplishments since Trail Guards came to be in 1992. It was fun to write, and something not everyone got to see, so I thought I would update it here for our Paynesville Press readers.
We’ve now completed 28 years of Trail Guards, and a lot has happened.
We’ve organized and orchestrated eight years of Moonlight Meanders (minus a cancel in 2018 when after lots of pre-event organizing, plus spending the day setting up, a real, live snowstorm set in and made the roads dangerous and nearly undrivable).
We’ve completed 24 My Room bedroom make-over projects involving 27 kids; shown 91 kids the joys of overnight bicycle touring (some repeats); sent 17 kids abroad on international bicycle adventures in Argentina, Norway, France, Spain, and Canada (with supported, but self-raised funds); taken over 300 kids paddling on high-adventure whitewater rivers (also some repeats); guided 12 kids through Everglades National Park camping/paddling expeditions; and introduced many dozens of kids to the beautiful and pristine Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (including three memorable birthday celebrations with cake and candles).
We’ve removed literally tons of debris from the Crow River between the Highway 23 by-pass bridge to Paynesville’s Industrial Park. We had to cancel this year’s cleanup event due to dangerously high water, but otherwise we normally have a great mix of kids and adults from as far away as Sauk Centre and Litchfield. And we’ve helped countless kids catch their first fish after learning how to do so safely, legally, and ethically.
We have also hauled in and recycled well over 300 trailer-loads of aluminum cans (nearly 40 tons, and over 2 million cans), and performed 10's of thousands of person/kid-hours on park work - resulting in the beautiful and well-maintained 12-acre public Nature Park we all enjoy today.
Whether you are a board member, a volunteer, part of our small seasonal staff, a financial supporter, or a participating youth, it is you who makes this all happen. You are the Trail Guards, and together we seem to be on some incredible journey. Thanks for another great year.