Story last updated at 4/18/2012 - 11:10 am
The Perseverance Trail in Juneau is one of the most heavily recreated trails in the capital city. This trail amazes hikers with its beauty and history - history that is parallel to that of the Chilkoot and Iditarod trails.
Perseverance Trail, once called Johnson Road, was the first road in the state of Alaska. It leads back to Silverbow Basin, where Joe Juneau and Richard Harris discovered gold. At one time, mines in Silverbow Basin were producing some of the largest amounts of gold seen in the world. When hikers embark on this trail, they truly take a journey through time.
Last year, as an AmeriCorps crew leader for SAGA's Serve Alaska Youth Corps, my crew got the amazing opportunity to work on Perseverance Trail. We put in water dips, did some brushing and widened the trail to make it more hiker- and biker-friendly. Each day we had to hike in and out, sometimes up to two miles, with all of our tools. We spent our days swinging pulaskis, digging and using rock bars to move heavy rocks away from the trail. This was no easy task, but we persevered.
Our project sponsor walked with my crew on our first day and gave us a tour, so to speak, of the trail and its surrounding area. We learned about the history of the trail, the ecology of Southeast Alaska and about avalanches and the impact they have on shaping life in the Tongass.
For my co-leader, myself, and my crew of all 18- to 21-year-old Alaskans, the lessons were incredibly enlightening. It is easy to forget what magnificence we have right at our fingertips here in Juneau. Sometimes, all it takes is a 15-minute hike or a brief conversation to remind us. SAGA's AmeriCorps Serve Alaska Youth Corps program gave all of us in my crew that opportunity.
SAGA has been around for 26 years, and this year our organization will employ 114 AmeriCorps members. Our members come from all over the country and the state. They all come to SAGA with the mission of doing meaningful work with AmeriCorps and, at the same time, exploring this beautiful state.
This summer, our crews will be doing conservation work all throughout the Southeast and Interior. We strive to work hard, build meaningful relationships within this organization and the communities we work in, and get things done. By doing our best work and striving to be involved citizens, we hope to enhance more lives, lands, and communities in Alaska.
SAGA's Serve Alaska Youth Corps will soon be hiring AmeriCorps crew members who will have opportunities to do more meaningful work throughout the state. SAGA hires young Alaskans, ages 17 to 24, who have a desire to work hard and learn.
This is one in a series of installments written by former AmeriCorps volunteers who served with SAGA. Visit www.capitalcityweekly.com to read more from this series. For more information about SAGA, visit www.servealaska.org.