Volunteer Vacation – Happy Jack

October 1-7, 2017

Fourteen volunteers traveled from all over the United States to volunteer to participate in the American Hiking Society and ATA’s Volunteer Vacation. The AHS program matches trail volunteers with a wide variety of trail volunteer opportunities throughout the US and beyond. Many of these volunteers had never visited Arizona before, and most of them had not even heard of the Arizona National Scenic Trail before registering for the event. What starts as just a great way to get some volunteers on the ground building trail turns into a fantastic outreach program almost by accident. Now these 14 hikers will go home and brag about the amazing trail that they built through the scenic ponderosa of northern Arizona, and maybe a few new sparks of AZT fever will ignite.

The trail construction was the first part of the new Happy Jack Single Track project on the Coconino National Forest. Ultimately, this project will result in almost 18 miles of new singletrack trail construction to get the AZT off of the long road walks of the Happy Jack passage. The crew created 1.4 miles of new trail, nearly completing the northernmost reroute of the project. They hacked through oak thickets, dug out pine stumps and chopped through tedious grass flats to open up the corridor — even building some impressive stone retaining structures to finish the final climbs.

Special thanks to ATA volunteers who participated as crew leaders and camp hosts: Roger Smith, John Swain and the Higbee clan Terry, Mike and Craig.