Saturday, November 11, 2017

Update as of 11/10/17 Message from Forester and Benefit Photo Link


Friends of Shimek Update     November 10. 2017

Message from Shimek Forester John Byrd:

Hello Friends,

Fall colors are fading, daylight is shortening, and equestrian riding is slowing which means that winter is coming fast.  With all these changes it means that we have the opportunity to look back on the past few months and see what was accomplished.   Many of you have shown overwhelming support for Shimek State Forest, both trails and campgrounds, by attending workdays, donating funds, helping raise funds, and promoting pride in the Forest.

This spring we opened the second section of the Wet Weather Trail which the Shimek DNR Crew had worked on for over a year. It was made possible by the support of the William M and Donna J. Hoaglin Foundation, Inc. Over the summer, the Shimek DNR crew replaced several hitching rails and a manure bunker and did trail work (water diversions, smoothing, clearing, widening, mowing ) on several stretches of trail that hadn't received management in a few years.

Shimek DNR, Friends of Shimek, and Lee County Charitable Fund (LCCF) have undertaken a joint project to establish two new parking lots in Lick Creek to better accommodate horse trailer rigs.  One will be an expansion of the current parking lot in the Upper Campground.  The other is on the left down the hill to the Lower Campground.  Lack of parking for day riders, especially on weekends, has been an ongoing issue with the rise in popularity of Shimek's trail system. This should help tremendously.  These parking lots are not cheap to construct! Thanks to a grant from the LCCF and the FANTASTIC fundraising of the Friends of Shimek, we are going to make this venture successful.  Thank you to everyone who supported the Benefit Meal and Auctions this past weekend but especially the Volunteers who put countless hours into making it a success. Event Coordinators Bonnie Moothart and Ann Bennett were not only behind the success of the fundraiser—but “on it” all year!   

It is very important as we look to next year that we remain diligent on trail management.    We also plan some slight additions/improvements to the trail system as well.  The Shimek DNR Crew has several re-routes planned to make riding and access for trail management easier.  Please stay tuned for further information on those changes.  

I want to thank everyone who rides at Shimek that goes that extra mile of picking up trash, moving a small downed tree, or reporting to DNR a problem on the trails.  I have learned over the years that there are hundreds of riders that do these things because they take pride in how the trails look and never mention it to anyone.  Thank you to everyone for a successful season of riding.  I will spend the rest of my winter in the woods on forest management, knowing trails, campgrounds, and facilities are ready for next year.

Very appreciative,

John Byrd, Forester
  
  

FOS Benefit Meal and Auctions
The FOS Benefit Meal and Auctions was held Saturday November 4th at the River Valley Lodge.  Thanks to many many hours by Event  Coordinator Bonnie Moothart and FOS President Ann Bennett with a lot of back up from Doug Moothart, the FOS Board, hard working volunteers and all the many many donors, attendees, and bidders --WE DID IT!  OVER $9,000 RAISED (gross income).  This money will be used to match or fund projects planned by Forester John Byrd to improve the Forest trails and campgrounds as he discussed above.  A sampling of the photos from the event can be seen at the link below.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/xXuq1435n4ewPnD63

  Take a look a them--if you were there, you may be in one or more!

Anyone that missed the benefit and would like to help FOS -- please send a check to Debbie Miller, FOS Treasurer, c/o Lee County Bank, 2501 Avenue L, Ft. Madison, IA 52627.  Your help is much appreciated.



Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Message regarding trails 10-11-2017

Message from Forester John Byrd:
 
"Currently (10-11-2017) the trails at Shimek are OPEN.  The forecast for this weekend (10-13 to 10-15) is looking like it could be a wet one with estimated rainfall amounts close to an inch.  Trail status could change on Saturday in a moments notice.  This is just a courtesy informational post to those coming to ride trails at Shimek State Forest.  Up to date trail information can be found by calling 319-878-3811 or online at  http://www.iowadnr.gov/Places-to-Go/State-Parks/Alerts-and-Closures.
Thank you"

New Equestrian Day Parking Project gets underway!

  The Lee County Charitable Fund, DNR Shimek staff and FOS are jointly embarking upon a project to expand the equestrian day parking in the Upper Campground and to add an equestrian day parking lot near the Lower Campground. LCCF has awarded $5,000; FOS must raise at least an additional $4,000 which we are hoping to complete by the end of the night on Nov. 4 when we hold the Benefit Meal and Auction.

 The DNR Shimek crew has just begun the first step of this project---the clearing of the trees from the areas to be made into equine parking. On Monday, before the Tuesday rain, they removed the trees currently on the area adjacent to the day parking in the upper campground which will become expanded day parking. THANK YOU to Forester John Byrd for his planning and work to assure that we have adequate day parking at both campgrounds...and for the photos of the work being done. Follow us here or on Facebook for updates as it progresses---hoping for completion in May 2018---weather cooperating.


First step completed---trees cleared from area for day parking at Upper Campground.

Monday, October 2, 2017

FOS Update as of 10-1-17 Sept. Work Day Follow-up and Day-Parking Project


September 28th Workday Report

At the FOS Work Day on 9/28, there were 14 volunteers and five DNR Shimek crew to tackle the jobs needing done. Volunteers were Marsha Achenbach, Bob Achenbach, Ringo Covert, Jo Watson, Kathy Collins, Jeff Collins, Linda Fiordelise, Bill Fiordelise, Bonnie Moothart, Doug Moothart, Pat Pollpeter, Billie Dilsaver, Mary Doyle and Lora Conrad. The Shimek DNR Crew working with the volunteers were Forester John Byrd, Ben Hassman, Eric Martin, Heath Fraise, and Susan Meinhardt. The work of all is much appreciated!  Shown below is Forester John Byrd making work assignments for the morning.



Forester John Byrd assigned two crews of two ATV's each to take chain saws and clear trees that had recently fallen on both dirt trails and the WWT. Several people including Linda, Mary and Lora walked trails out of the campgrounds with loppers to cut back roses and carried trash bags and pickers to retrieve those cans and bottles thoughtlessly tossed back into the briars.  Ringo and Doug are shown here removing a tree across the WWT.  Photo by Bonnie Moothart.



In camp, recyclable and refundable cans and bottles collected in the deposit bins were sorted by Marsha and Kathy shown at work below and fire pits were cleaned –Pat, Billie, and Susan worked on this in both campgrounds.  The Mootharts took the cans to Ann then Ann Bennett took the cans to recycle and received $104 for the FOS treasury.



DNR crew had begun work on the lime chips in all the horse stalls by breaking up the hard pan so that volunteers could rake the lime chips into more nearly flat surfaces (getting rid of pot holes created by horses). Toilet facilities in both campgrounds were pressure washed by Jeff Collins and John Byrd...a difficult job but much appreciated by campers.  Pat Pollpeter and Billie Dilsaver cleaned out firepits.





After a morning of work, all gathered for a lunch of soup and sandwiches, an update from John Byrd on the new day parking project and an update from Bonnie Moothart on the Benefit Meal and Auctions scheduled Nov. 4 to raise matching funds for that project and for other work needed on the trails.



YOU can still help!

Much was accomplished but we never quite get finished—can't retrieve trash from 26 miles in one morning. But if riders will help when they are there---the trails could be completely cleared up—so when you are riding, if you see trash and cans on a section, take an hour and clean up a section of trail. Let us know when you do this, and we'll include you in the Shimek volunteer report! Just send your name, date and time worked at Shimek and what you did to FOShimek@gmail.com Any photos of you working on the trails or in the campgrounds will also be appreciated.



Day-Parking Project

The Lee County Charitable Fund has made a grant to FOS for the development of additional day-parking at the Upper Campground and for a new day-parking lot at the Lower Campground.  The grant amount is for $5,000.  FOS very much appreciates this generous grant.  However, the two new parking areas will require clearing trees, smoothing and packing ground, purchasing and spreading rock and lime chips, packing these and other related work to provide two suitable, well-drained  day-parking areas for trucks with horse-trailers  that can be used with only a small amount of annual  maintenance for many years to come.  The estimate of the cost is at least $9,000 total.  Forester John Byrd and his crew will clear trees and oversee the dozer work paid for by the grant.  Work will begin about the end of October and, weather permitting, it will be completed by early May.  However, there are no funds in the DNR Shimek budget for the amount of rock and lime chips needed.  FOS is committed to raising the matching funds for the project and additional funds to provide the rock needed for trail repairs on Wet Weather Trail maintenance. Remember, there is no charge to use the day-parking areas.  However, they are not to be used for overnight camping---campsites are already provided for that purpose.

Benefit Meal and Auctions for Friends of Shimek

For the latest photos of the almost 100 items to auction by the auctioneer, the silent auction items and the details of the meal, go to Facebook Friends of Shimek State Forest Equestrian Trails and check out the Event for November 4th--meal starts at 5:00PM, auction at 6:30.  It is being held at the Lodge at River Valley campground.  Bonnie Moothart and Ann Bennett are coordinating the fundraiser.

See you November 4th!!

Lora Conrad

FOS Secretary/Newsletter Editor


Tuesday, September 19, 2017

FOS Work Day Sept. 28, 2017


FRIENDS OF SHIMEK FOREST (FOS)

September 28th WORK DAY –

  CAN YOU COME HELP? 

Come join other friends of Shimek at 8am at the Lick Creek Lower Campground on Thursday, Sept. 28th at the gravel circle as you first arrive at the campground. Forester John Byrd will give us an update on what is happening at Shimek. Then he will assign work day tasks, volunteers will sign liability forms ( if needed) and volunteer log. After a morning of work, all will return to the Lower Campground at noon to report back on progress, then rest a while with friends. Light lunch provided for all by Lora Conrad, Work Day Coordinator. Water provided. Remember—no previous volunteer experience necessary.


Please RSVP to FOS by email FOShimek@gmail.com so we have an idea of who is coming and what you are bringing for tools and equipment. If pouring rain (Oh we do hope for that before then we are so DRY!), then the work day may be cancelled. Any change in work day status will be promptly posted on FB and the FOS Blog as well. If there is a change, anyone who has advised us they are coming will be contacted via e-mail or phone.


Primary goals for the day are both campground and trail work. Campground work includes clean up of fire pits, campsites and stalls, can and bottle sorting, and some painting yet to be done. Trail work needed that can be done using your ATV, on foot or on horseback includes trash/can pick-up, cutting back multi-flora that intrudes on the trails (can use loppers, weedeaters, or walk-behind mowers), clipping back overgrowth on narrower trails with loppers, and removing dangerous limbs that could jab riders. Let us know what you want to work on and we will discuss what supplies you might need to bring and what DNR or FOS can supply. Paint and trash bags will be provided by DNR. FOS has loppers. Don't forget your blaze orange Friends of Shimek work vest if you have one. There will be some loaners available to identify all of us as volunteers.



We look forward to having you with us that morning. We will all return to camp at Noon to report back and enjoy lunch with friends. Lunch and water will be provided. Most work is expected to be finished by noon.

Cautionary note: There have been multiple reports of “ground bees” or yellowjackets —so if you have a serious allergy to the stings of bees or wasps, do not plan to work on the trails.

Assistance Needed for the Benefit Meal and Auction Nov. 4.

Bonnie Moothart, who is coordinating the benefit, will be at the September work day—clip board in hand---to sign us all up for whatever jobs we can do to help make the fundraiser a big success. So—if you can plan on helping prepare on Nov. 3 or during the set-up, during and after the auction on Nov. 4---please talk to Bonnie. This includes food donations such as that great homemade pie you always make for special occasions. Or that extra saddle or piece of furniture or art work you are willing to part with to help raise money for the new day parking areas at both campgrounds and for other improvements. If you can help and won't be there on the 28th—contact her as described below.

See you September 28th!

Sunday, August 13, 2017

FOS Update --Happening At or To Shimek State Forest-8/13/17

Happening at or to Shimek State Forest

State Level Organizational changes...... Summary: Forestry has been disbanded –Shimek now under SE IA District Parks

In the last few weeks, there have been major changes to the DNR organizational structure that affect Shimek State Forest as well as Forester John Byrd and his crew. Many of you have already read that over the July 4th holiday weekend, the Iowa DNR Director Gipp disbanded the Forestry Bureau and retired or reassigned its leadership. Anticipated budget cuts to DNR were cited as the reason. The segments of Forestry have been disbursed in various other DNR Bureaus. The individual forests have been assigned to various Parks and Preserves Bureau offices. Shimek State Forest is assigned to Southeast Iowa District Parks under Tom Basten, who was already responsible for the campgrounds, in cooperation with the Shimek Forester. For the time being, there are no individual Forest staffing changes, no changes in responsibilities and certainly no increases in budgets for the State Forests. We all need to support both Forester John Byrd and Parks Supervisor Tom Basten as they work together to keep Shimek Forest improved and protected for future generations while still offering wonderful, accessible trails and excellent primitive campgrounds --- as it is today.

State Budgets......Summary: Major DNR cuts already and more looming. Speak to your legislators.

State lawmakers cut the DNR budget once again this year—cutting it $1.2 million earlier this year. The Governor now says she may call a special session later to act on “looming budget problems.”

In the opinion of your editor, the long term concern for both Parks and all the forests is whether there will be still further budget cuts to DNR. Watch your news for this. You may want to communicate your feelings on such matters in the future to the new Representative for District 82 ( which includes Van Buren and therefor the headquarters and a large part of Shimek Forest), Dr. Phil Miller and Representative Jerry Kearns of southern Lee County District 83 where the Lick Creek Unit is located as well as your own state representative if you live in another district. Our positive support of Shimek Forest could be very important.

Back on the ground in Shimek Forest.....

Summary: Trails and campgrounds in great shape thanks to DNR Crew

This spring, for the first time in 9 years –yes—that is for the first time in nine years--- Shimek State Forest was provided equipment money for one new piece of equipment for the entire forest. This was especially critical as the one little skid steer the forest had was (and is) inoperable (wearing out---needing several thousand dollars worth of repairs). So-- Forester Byrd selected and purchased as the Forest “Work Horse” a new heavier-duty skid steer, a John Deere 323E, that includes a front end serious- mow- everything Rotary Cutter. It is a much needed asset for management of the 9,000 acres of forest and and for the maintenance and support of the equestrian trails in the Lick Creek Unit . Shimek staff—especially Ben Hassman---have been putting it to good use. Part of that use has included mowing many of the equestrian trails (though some are too narrow or rough to use it). As a result, most trails that can be mowed have been mowed at this point, and since the drought has slowed the undergrowth, they are staying mowed for longer than usual. Downed trees have been removed promptly after Forester Byrd is notified since Shimek now has a functioning piece of equipment to do this with.

Shimek has also had exceptional Summer Staff in Ross O'Day and Susan Meinhardt who now work part-time, hopefully through the end of October. Those super clean toilet facilities, trimmed and swept up campgrounds are thanks to their hard work—the painted Bridge at Martin Pond, the rest of the tables painted that FOS did not get finished on the last work day—Thanks to Susan and Ross!

Forester Byrd and crew have also done some extra things this summer for us equestrians that have included more new hitching posts to replace some of the old ones, corrections to poor water crossings on the trails, and addition of water diversions along the trails to handle hoped-for future rains.

Despite the unsettled circumstances and frequent threats of less funding, Forester Byrd and Staff have stayed focused on doing the best possible job—and you can see it every time you go there.  See photos below of the new tie rails in the upper campground and of the repaired crossing where there was a very narrow deep ditch previously.


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What we—the riders and Friends of Shimek can do or are doing.....

Summary: Help Out at the Next Scheduled Work Day

The August Group Work Day has been canceled. Join us on September 28th at 8:00 AM for the next FOS Group Work Day. More information will be sent later and be posted on FB and on the FOS blogspot..

Summary: Help Raise Funds for New Day Parking. $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

FOS, working with Forester Byrd, has obtained a grant from the Lee County Charitable Fund for $5,000 to apply toward the cost of constructing two new day parking areas—one at each campground. The actual cost will be closer to $9,000 so we have a challenge to raise the $4,000 to assure the construction of these new parking areas on time. Needless to say, there will be no DNR money to apply toward this but Forester Byrd and his crew will provide much of the labor. Riders have been asking for these for several years---so now is the time to help us make it possible. The project will not begin until October 1 when the currently wooded area can be cleared. FOS is holding a Benefit Meal and Auction this November 4th. You can donate items to the auction and/or purchase items at the auction to help out.

Summary: Benefit Dinner and Auction Saturday, November 4, 2017
At River Valley Lodge 29080 Hawk Drive – Farmington, IA
Admission: $10.00

Hot Meal -smoked pulled pork with all the trimmings... with homemade desserts 5:00-6:30 p.m.
Silent Auction 5:00- 8:00 p.m.
Live Auction 6:30 p.m.
(western items, tack, art work, quilts, gift certificates, services, equine care products, other) All auctioned items will be either new or clean and repaired used items. Nothing dirty or broken will be auctioned.

All proceeds will be used by Friends of Shimek
to support improvements in the Lick Creek equine campgrounds and trails.
Questions, Donations or Help: Contact Bonniemoothart@me.com or 319 653 5323 or FOShimek@gmail.com. Need donated items by October 1, 2017. Facebook: Benefit Meal and Auctions for Friends of Shimek

$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

Summary: Simple - Clean-up After Ourselves And Our Animals

Most riders are very good about civil behavior. We really appreciate their cooperation in cleaning up after themselves and not damaging our precious resources. ---but we have a few $%^$$%^

So we'll spell it out--

On the trails---When you are riding—be sure to carry out all the cans and trash you carry in with you. If you can do so—help remove some of the cans and trash that some have left behind. These are scattered about through the forest and if you can carry a bag on the horse to hold cans and remove a few each time, we could get rid of those with no one having to work at it too hard. Also there is nothing attractive or considerate about hanging women's underwear about in the trees –yep-- a few people are doing that. What the??????????

In camp, none of this cans, bottles and plastic in the firepits or thrown down into the toilets to cause other people trouble. As my Grandma would have said to such people: “ Were you raised in a pig sty?

Appreciate a clean campsite and/or stable? Then please leave it clean when you go home.

Summary: Protect This Precious Place for Future Citizens to Enjoy.....

Consider the impact of what you are doing---riding on wet trails causes damage that is difficult to repair as does making your own trails or riding off -trail up and down a lovely bluebell hill that now will be ugly and ditched for many years. So treat these trails and this beautiful forest like you plan to bring your grandchildren here. If we all help keep it and protect it, then it will be here for them to enjoy.

Summing it all up: Shimek Forest --- If we do not help protect it, we could lose access to it.


Tuesday, July 11, 2017

July 8, 2017 FOS Work Day Report

Forester John Byrd was joined by 15 FOS volunteers and two DNR summer staff for a morning of work that included both Lick Creek Campgrounds, Bitternut Campground and White Oak campground.  Activities included painting table legs and replacing You Are Here signage on the equestrian trails. Chains were hung in several hitching posts and fire pits not in use cleaned. Several people rode trails with loppers and trimmed back low hanging limbs   Many thanks to all for taking the morning to help at Shimek.

One of the major tasks for the morning was updating the "You Are Here" signs. The map signs posted along the trails have been up now several years and had faded and no longer were correct as Shimek has expanded the Wet Weather Trail System. To replace the maps, Forester John Byrd prepared a new map which Lala O'Hara got printed and laminated for us and her brother Neal Hartman and Sonny Gipe (shown here) as well as Marsha Achenbach, Bob Bender and Debbie Miller rode out and installed them in the map holders. John Byrd used the DNR 4-wheeler to deliver six of the heavy map holders that needed to be reinstalled to the post sites. Now there are about a dozen up to date signs scattered along the equestrian trails at key points to help anyone that is wondering just exactly where they might be.  I know, you never get lost--but somebody might...like your directionally impaired blog writer.

Forester John Byrd goes over the map installation
plan with FOS Volunteers.

Neal Hartman and Sonny Gipe head off with maps in their saddle bags to install.

Forester John Byrd discusses where Bob Bender and Marsha Achenbach
 will install maps on the You Are Here signs.


Forester John Byrd delivered several of the  heavy map holders to the
 appropriate signage location. 

 
Another major activity was extending the life of picnic tables. Every couple of years, DNR staff and FOS Volunteers paint the metal table supports on the tables in all the Shimek Campgrounds. This year, DNR summer staff Ross O'Day and Susan Meinhardt had already painted the upper campground table supports and on the July 8th FOS Group Work Day, they along with several FOS Volunteers painted all the ones not in use in the Lower campground, all the ones at the White Oak Campground and six of the ones at the Bitternut Campground. Still some to go but a lot of headway was made. This helps slow the rusting of the table supports where they rest on the ground. 
Ross O'Day and Alan Ball flip a table with the legs up for painting.

Here Susan Meinhardt cleans the dirt and trash off the table legs
 while Alan Ball begins painting at White Oak Campground

Bill Fiordelise painting a table in the Lower Campground.


Wednesday, July 5, 2017

DNR Reorganization Affecting Shimek State Forest



 Many people have heard rumors of major changes within DNR over the holiday. What FOS has learned from several sources as of noon on 7-5 is that--yes--the Forestry Bureau has been eliminated as a separate bureau as of July 3rd by DNR Director Gipp. Personnel affected were notified by e-mail. Of course, many were on holiday at the time.

The segments of Forestry have been disbursed in various other DNR Bureaus. The individual forests have been assigned to various Parks and Preserves Bureau offices. Shimek State Forest is assigned to Southeast Iowa District Parks under Tom Basten, who was already responsible for the campgrounds, in cooperation with the Shimek Forester.

 For the time being, there are no individual Forest staffing changes, no changes in responsibilities and certainly no increases in budgets for the State Forests.

FOS are all concerned about the impact of such major changes and must hope for the best possible outcome for Shimek DNR staff and Shimek forest.  When any official documents on this are made available, FOS will post them here.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

July 8th FOS Workday Plans


FRIENDS OF SHIMEK FOREST (FOS) JULY 8 WORK DAY –

  CAN YOU COME HELP? 

Come join other friends of Shimek at 8am at the Lick Creek Lower Campground on Saturday, July 8th at the gravel circle as you first arrive at the campground. Forester John Byrd will give us an update on what is happening at Shimek. Then he and Work Day Coordinator Neal Hartman will assign work day tasks, volunteers will sign liability forms ( if needed) and volunteer log. After a morning of work, all will return to the Lower Campground at noon to report back on progress, then rest a while with friends. Bring a sack lunch (if you like), water provided. Don't forget your blaze orange Friends of Shimek work vest if you have one. There will be some loaners available to identify all of us as volunteers. Remember—no previous volunteer experience necessary.


Please RSVP to FOS by email FOShimek@gmail.com so we have an idea of who is coming and what you are bringing for tools and equipment. Since this is a Saturday and likely to be busy, we will NOT take 4 wheelers out on trails. If pouring rain, then the work day may be cancelled. Any change in work day status will be promptly posted on FB and the FOS Blog as well. If there is a change, anyone who has advised us they are coming will be contacted via e-mail or phone.


Primary goals for the day are both campground and trail work. Campground work includes putting chains on some new hitching rails, painting tables where campsites are not in use, clean up of fire pits, campsites and stalls and can and bottle sorting. Trail work needed that can be done on foot or on horseback includes some weedeating/walk behind mowing and replacing sign sheets in the You Are Here signs on the trails, trash/can pick-up and clipping back overgrowth on narrower trails with loppers. Let us know what you want to work on and we will discuss what supplies you might need to bring and what DNR or FOS can supply. Paint and chains will be provided by DNR.


We look forward to having you with us that morning. We will all return to camp at Noon to report back and enjoy our own brown-bag lunches with friends. Water will be provided and we might have a watermelon or two to share that day! Most work is expected to be finished by noon.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

May 16th--A Beautiful Day to Work at Shimek

On a crisp , sunny day--May 16th--fourteen FOS volunteers and all DNR Shimek staff met to cleanup the campgrounds and to clear downed trees, mow some trails and generally improve the riding conditions and appearance in the equestrian campgrounds and on the riding trails.   Thanks to all the volunteers and the entire DNR crew.  Special thanks to the several volunteers who are not equestrians but enjoy and appreciate our forests.


Forester John Byrd gives the days "marching orders" before crews head off to the trails and spread out around the two campgrounds to get the place cleaned up.
Here volunteers are shown clearing gutters and cleaning out stalls in the Lower Campground.


Pam Ball, Marsha Achenbach and Shirley Mulligan followed by DNR employee Ben Hassman all carry collected bags of recyclable cans and bottles for sorting and bagging correctly. Over $150 was raised this time.


Three ATV crews head off to cut downed trees, remove fallen debris from trails and trim back overgrowth.