Sheet Metal Workers Union Repair Nature Center Trail
I love outdoor work parties, having run them for over ten years elsewhere; and now, thanks to Local 104 of the Sheet Metal Workers (SMW) Union, we have a fully rehabilitated path from the parking area to the Nature Center at Rancho del Oso, Big Basin Redwoods State Park.
Community service is in the DNA of these SMW union workers. Over the past fourteen months, union workers provided over 900 community shifts of volunteer work in northern California alone. Their generosity supports various non-profit endeavors for state, county, and local parks. We were blessed that Local 104 chose Rancho del Oso (RDO) Nature and History Center for their altruistic herculean work.
These collaborative and productive union team projects can accomplish so much, while providing such camaraderie. There isn’t a place, anywhere that I know, where so much can get done while getting to know others so well. I found all the folks solid, fun, and energetic!
The Nature Center trail has been in serious disrepair with extensive muddy areas, making it dangerous and inaccessible to many State Parks visitors. Our new footpath is 120 feet long and was built using over a ton of crushed rock. This carefully crafted trail will now disperse the rainfall and provide a safe walking area to the Nature Center. In addition to this artfully constructed path, SMW volunteers installed a sturdy wooden bridge (4’ x 12’) crossing the seasonal stream bed. This walkway now connects to seven new wooden steps leading up to the Nature Center and bathroom facilities.
Most of the building materials and labor were provided by the Union. Fifteen union members (apprentices, journeypersons and retired persons), Mark Van Den Heuvel (Business Representative), and Matthew Weil (State Parks Trail Crew Leader) contributed to this project. It has been a pleasure to team up with the SMW Union Local 104, and we hope they will return to Rancho del Oso. We appreciate their professionalism and high quality work. On behalf of the RDO Board, thank you.