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Volunteers take part in Public Lands Day

By Gabrielle Terrett

For The Vicksburg Post

Vicksburg National Military Park invited volunteers of all ages to come and assist with the preservation and beautification of the park through the National Public Lands Day event.

Volunteers spent more than four hours Saturday maintaining the hiking trails, as well as weeding the land at the Shirley House Rose Garden. VNMP Volunteer Coordinator Molly Cadwell said 48 people showed up for the event, contributing 192 hours in total to the occasion.

Cub Scout Troop 193 was in attendance with Committee Chairperson Colin Crasta. Crasta said he has been bringing the troop to the National Public Lands Day event for 12 years.

“Just teaching the boys community service and giving back to the community. That’s a good thing to teach them at a young age,” Crasta said when asked how does volunteering benefit his troop.

The scouts’ parents came out and helped with the less strenuous activities, such as trimming hedges, raking the fallen leaves and clearing the pathways.

“For my grandson and my granddaughter,” Beverly Johnson, a grandparent of a scout, said of why she took part.

Along with scouts and their parents, the park had many other regular volunteers as well. Some stayed at the Shirley House, weeding and mulching the garden while others took on the 12-mile Al Scheller Hiking Trail, tearing down limbs and branches, picking up debris and trimming the overgrown plants.

“We’re weeding and going to be mulching here in the Shirley House Rose Garden. We also have three trail crews out on our Al Scheller Hiking Trail, which runs throughout the park. It’s a primitive wooden hiking trail and it needs a lot of work,” said Cadwell. “Because we’re a national park we belong to everybody, the whole community, whether they’re locals or tourists as part of this park. So we need everybody’s help to take care of it. NPLD is an event that actually happens at parks and public lands all over the country. So national forests, I think even some state sites do it, they bring people to their public land spaces to give back to the land that has given us so much.”