On several different occasions while hoofing it along a public trail, be it a Finger Lakes System or off-season snowmobile one, I’ve encountered others who complained that there was a fallen tree or large branch across a portion of the trail they’d just been on. I wondered if they realized how the vast majority of the trails we enjoy are kept so easily navigable for us? Certainly emerging new growth occurs, trees and branches fall from time to time, and wherever that occurs, they would simply remain there, were it not for the volunteers who keep these trails open.
The same goes for many enjoyable outdoor activities we partake in. Have you ever stopped and considered that government services only go so far in keeping our outdoor opportunities the way we like them? And with government cutting back on programs and personnel, the quality of many of our outdoor activities would erode rapidly were it not for volunteers.
With the April 1 trout fishing opener approaching, I wonder how many people grasp the fact that volunteers help the DEC annually stock the hatchery-reared trout we later catch from our streams, rivers, and lakes? Organizations such as Tout Unlimited, the County Sportsmen’s Federation and other volunteers lug buckets of trout from the hatchery trucks and then disperse them in our waters, free of charge. Otherwise, how else would those trout get from our hatcheries to where we fish?