USA and OPCMIA Host First USA Hike
As the fog lifted off the Potomac shortly after sunrise, a group of union member gathered at Great Falls Park outside Washington D.C. for the first ever Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA) hike.
Led by Operative Plasterers’ and Cement Masons’ International Association International Political Affairs Director Ryan Stepano, members of the Machinists, Office Workers Local 2, Elevator Constructors Local 10, and the UA International along with some family members, including one of the four-legged variety, enjoyed camaraderie and fantastic views along 1.6-mile River Trail Mini Loop.
Stepano, who serves as a proxy for the OPCMIA International General President on the USA Board, proposed a USA hike following conversations among board members about expanding USA activities beyond shooting, hunting, and fishing to appeal to a broader union audience.
“I was amazed that so many people that live in the area have never had the opportunity to hike the trail at Great Falls,” said Stepano. “Showing people a beautiful natural splendor in their backyard is priceless to me. It was a perfect fall day with a collage of colors and the roar of the great falls in the background.”
With the trail mostly to themselves early on a Saturday morning, the hikers spotted a whitetail deer, an osprey, and some whitewater kayakers willing to brave the rapids of the Potomac.
Everyone who attended the hike was entered in a drawing for a pair of U.S.-made Danner hiking boots, and Dave Lehive of the IAMAW International was drawn as the lucky winner at one of the trail’s scenic overlooks.
Located just 15 miles from the nation’s capital, historic Great Falls Park is home to one of the nation’s first canals and offers many opportunities to explore history and nature. The park’s more memorable treasures are the overlooks where you can view the Potomac River as it falls over a series of steep, jagged rocks and flows through the narrow Mather Gorge.
“I never expected to see such beautiful natural scenery just outside a major city,” said USA Communications Manager Kate Nation, “and while only half of those registered turned out for the hike, it was cool to witness families and union members bonding in the outdoors. I look forward to similar events in the future.”