Union Volunteers Refurbish Trails at Government Canyon State Natural Area

The Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA) brought its Work Boots on the Ground conservation program to San Antonio, Texas on Jan. 17, when union trades workers, both from the local community and around the country, gathered to volunteer their time and expert skills to refurbish trails at Government Canyon State Natural Area, in San Antonio, Texas. The community project is one of many that took place last week during the city-wide Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. honorary observance.

san_antonio_275About 35 expert union trades workers generously volunteered their time and talents to clean up a 150-foot stretch of trail leading to the camping grounds at Government Canyon State Natural Area. Workers spent a large part of the day installing wood-frame barriers to help prevent future trail erosion and conserve the park’s natural setting.

The project was identified as a priority by the State Parks on its spring volunteer project list because most of the trail has been washed away by rain. It is the third conservation project the USA’s Work Boots on the Ground program has sponsored and coordinated with the agency. The first project brought together union volunteers from Dallas and Fort Worth to evaluate and repair three bridges in various stages of disrepair at Cedar Hills State Park, making them safe for park visitors. The second, was the successful completion of a mobile deer blind, custom-built to provide safe, comfortable hunting for youth living with mobility and health challenges.

“The Union Sportsmen’s Alliance is very proud to support the conservation efforts of Texas State Parks,” said Fred Myers, Executive Director of the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance. “These projects align perfectly with the USA’s conservation mission and the unique trade skills among our membership, now at 213,000.”

Union workers who turned out to complete the job in a one-day timeframe, gathered at Government Canyon State Natural Area from the nearby United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 142 and the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades Local 653, both in San Antonio. Others who helped to make the project a success represented unions from across the country, in town this week for the AFL-CIO 2014 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Civil and Human Rights Conference.

Gerry Showers, a business representative with IUPAT District Council 78 in Florida and President of the Central Florida Chapter Coalition of Black Trade Unions made the trip with a team of volunteers to pitch in on the project.

“This is a great opportunity to come together with all the unions to work in the community and give back,” Showers said. “It great to have the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance take part in this historic ongoing day of service for Martin Luther King Day.”

“We don’t usually have groups this large,” said Chris Holm superintendent of Government Canyon State Natural Area. “It’s amazing how hard these union members worked today to complete this well needed project. Thank you to the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance for choosing our state natural area for their conservation project.”

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