December 03, 2007:
The Lone Pine Community’s love and respect for the Alabama Hills was again seen in a project sponsored by Healthy Communities and BLM staff working together to make the trail to the famous arch easy to find and follow. Healthy Communities Director Charles James was able to recruit five Lo-Inyo Middle School students from Mrs. Harry’s class to spend time giving back to the land and the community one Sunday, a few weeks back by working on the Alabama Hills Arch Trail Restoration Project.
James explained, While we had anticipated and hoped for more, we did have five very good Lo-Inyo 8th grade students show up to help us with this project: Alicia Niehaus, Rachel Martin, Javier Hernandez, Neil Bhakta, and Robert (a.k.a. Bubba) Hunter.
After having breakfast at McDonalds courtesy of Kevin and Lis Mazzu, the group drove out to the work site. When we arrived the students received a short safety talk from BLM Outdoor Recreation Planner Rich Williams and then instruction on what we were trying to accomplish today from BLM’s Scott Justham. These students hauled a lot of rocks to line the main trail leading to the Alabama Hills’ Arch
James continued, "The purpose was to try to get the foot traffic on the main trail and off the small spider web of trails that have resulted from not having a marked trail. While we got quite a bit done, we’ve discussed rescheduling another day to finish off what we started. The students seem amenable. Despite a forecast of rain, it was actually quite nice as you can see from the photosat least for the first couple of hours, but a storm front came in quickly by 1:00 p.m. as we were knocking off for the day and it started to get a little cool, blustery, and eventually began to rain."
The BLM Regional Office in Bishop has been working with the community of Lone Pine in a Stewardship project (see other stories in this issue) and this was another example of that work paying off.
Charles James reflected the feelings of the entire group when he stated, "The folks from the BLM were great to work with and I think it's safe to say that for the students that participated, that they really enjoyed working with them. The fact that these students were there says much about their character. Thanks for your support in gaining their interest."
As an added incentive for the students, Healthy Communities made a donation to the school for $100 toward the 8th Grade Graduation Catalina Trip or to whatever purpose the school chooses.