Originally created 01/15/06

Volunteers can help with outdoor projects



Opportunities to donate sweat equity for the benefit of America's network of hiking trails are available this spring in both Georgia and South Carolina.

There is a one-week project planned in March for a portion of Augusta's Butler Creek Nature Corridor. The Central Savannah River Land Trust will sponsor a 10-member work party of volunteers to create a walking trail at Lombard Mill Pond.

At many of these events, volunteers from other regions come in to help. Hazel Langrall, the project manager for the land trust, said it would be great to have members of the community assist with the trail in Augusta.

"We would love to have local volunteers. The whole point of (the Butler Creek Nature Corridor) is for public enjoyment," Ms. Langrall said. "It's a great amenity for people to be able to walk in the woods just outside their backyards."

The land trust holds much of the wetlands bordering Butler Creek in a permanent conservation easement. Ms. Langrall said the group plans to add more sections in the next several years to create a continuous 10-mile corridor stretching from Fort Gordon to Phinizy Swamp, where the creek meets the Savannah River.

During the project planned for the week of March 19, volunteers can camp at the work site, where they'll spend the days raking and chopping a 1-mile footpath encircling the historic grist mill pond. Tools will be provided.

The week won't be all work and no play, however. Ms. Langrall said the land trust will sponsor kayaking on the Augusta Canal and tours of Phinizy Swamp. Camping equipment is not provided but food is, she said.

Three projects are planned in South Carolina during the next three months, organizers said. Volunteers are being sought to move a section of the Palmetto Trail and construct three small bridges in the Francis Marion State Forest in Berkeley and Charleston counties beginning Sunday, Feb. 26. The Palmetto Conservation Foundation will sponsor a work party beginning Sunday, March 12, to construct a new hiking path, part of the Palmetto Trail, through a section of the Greenville Watershed, which has been closed for more than 50 years. On Sunday, April 16, the foundation also will sponsor a project to build handrails along abandoned railroad trestles over the Wateree Swamp in Sumter County on another section of the Palmetto Trail.

For more information about the South Carolina projects, call the foundation at (803) 771-0870.

Reach J.C. Lexow at (803) 648-1395, ext. 106, or jc.lexow@augustachronicle.com.

Volunteer vacation at butler creek when: March 19-25where: Lombard Mill Pond, Butler Creek Nature Corridor, Augustacost: $130 fee, $100 for society memberse-mail: info@csrlt.org