Grant Recipients Southeast Youth Corps Work at Rainbow Lake


 Wild Trail’s mission is to encourage and promote a healthy and active lifestyle through trail running and other forms of outdoor recreation and to advocate to protect and preserve land (natural spaces) used for such activities. One of the ways that we do this is to give grants to groups and organizations that embrace these same ideals. One such group is the Southeast Youth Corps (SYC) whose mission is to train and educate the youth of Chattanooga, while conserving and protecting the natural environment.

Wild Trails awarded SYC a grant of $2,000 from our last grant cycle and partnered with Rock/Creek, who donated an additional $4,000 with Patagonia as part of their 1% For the Planet giving.

SYC has been traveling all over the area this summer working with the Cherokee National Forest, Cumberland Trail and Trust for Public Land. Our intern Shane Shelton worked with the group and wrote up the following report:

15 large stone steps ascending up the mountain from Rainbow Lake swinging bridge towards Edwards Point

15 large stone steps ascending up the mountain from Rainbow Lake swinging bridge towards Edwards Point

A couple of weeks ago Wild Trails hosted the Southeastern Youth Corps as part of their 8-week summer trail work program. The SYC crew and I worked at Rainbow Lake on Signal Mountain. The SYC crew was a well drilled and very professional trail crew. They began each morning with a safety meeting, stretch session, and exercises to warm-up. With scheduled start and end times, breaks, and many tool counts a day; it made it very easy to work hard with such awesome people. They constructed 15 large stone steps ascending up the mountain from Rainbow Lake swinging bridge towards Edwards Point. The prior staircase composed of small, shifty steps that were eroding away, and it made for a very technical and dangerous descent especially for trail runners. The new steps have larger stepping surfaces and are completely locked into place, and look pretty awesome. The crew also recleared 2.5 miles of encroaching brush on the loop around Rainbow Lake, and cut new tread on eroded sections of the trail. Rainbow Lake is one of the prettiest swimming holes in the area especially with magnificent overlooks like Signal Point and Edwards Point nearby. Definitely worth a trip out there to enjoy the hardwork the SYC crew put into the trail. Finally, on the last day of trail work at Rainbow Lake, Wild Trails surprised the crew with a tub full of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and Wild Trails t-shirts.

The SYC now has two groups working all summer and is working on weekend and evening programs. Find out more about the Southeast Youth Corps and how they are educating youth and helping our natural environment.

Interested in applying for a grant from Wild Trails for your group? Find out about the process and fill out an application. Our winter grant cycle’s deadline is January 1, 2015.

2 Responses

  1. Joyce Dearstyne

    We are working to build, maintain and improve infrastructure on the Florida National Scenic Trail and would like to share our expert crew and their knowledge with a youth corps this season. If possible, I would like to speak to someone today or tomorrow as there is the potential for funding and the deadline is near. I am currently in the Pacific Time Zone and am therefore 3 hours behind you, should you call.
    Thank You,


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