- Steven Morano
Spring Ushers in Trail Cleanup
On March 13, there was a joint effort between the Office of Social Justice and Outdoor Adventures to perform a clean up of Mount Saint Mary’s trails on College Mountain. The trails lead up to various vantage points and overlooks and are often used by organizations such as Outdoor Adventures and students looking to hike. With warm weather, sun and little to no snow in the forecast, both students and organizations have been looking forward to using the University’s trail systems to get outside. But with the trail comes its upkeep, and that is where the coordinated effort from OSJ and OA was needed for the upcoming season.
The trail cleaning project was attended by CORE and OA leaders, one of them was Chris DePiazza (C’23). “To start, the trip was mostly planned by OA due to the trails and maintenance methods being under the jurisdiction of OA. We had a meeting to go over the roles of the OA leaders and how OSJ would interact with them,” DePiazza said. Together, the pairings of OA and OSJ leaders who were meant to lead different groups oversaw creating their own group itinerary, but due to the little number of participants, there was only one group of workers, he added. “Participants and leaders alike were able to interact with one another and build relationships throughout the workday. Students who went enjoyed their time in the outdoors and their time working on the trail. As of this semester, there are no further plans to have the offices collaborate on any more trips, but hopefully more trips like this can happen during fall 2021,” stated DePiazza. He feels like other offices, such as OSJ and CSD, have the potential to work well together in addition to the collaboration displayed with this event.
The leadership of both the OSJ and OA also had a role to play in planning the day. Brendan Johnson, the Assistant Director for Campus Ministry and Social Justice, said that, “Chris Duffy [Director of Outdoor Adventures] and I met a few times and decided how we’d partner to help maintain the trails above the Grotto. We split up the work, so OA was managing most of the planning for the activities and we worked on advertising.” Johnson hopes to maintain the trails on campus to offer opportunities like this each semester.
Duffy said, “We have known that this was something we wanted to do since last semester. The trails will always need small improvements to make them better for people to hike on and to control erosion due to rain, snow and foot traffic.” OA and the OSJ wanted to partner in this effort to help build a sense of community between the two offices and to be able to reach more students. They made improvements to help manage water and prevent erosion on three sections of the College Mountain Trail, Duffy added. He hopes that a trail workday becomes a Mount tradition and desires to end the future workdays with appreciation for the volunteers in the form of a barbecue.
With the maintenance of the trails complete, it makes the use by students and organizations easier and further preserves them for generations of students. With spring comes warmer weather and the use of the trails by OA. The organization is running several trips in the upcoming future, such as the Women’s Series and the Identity Hike in association with CSD.