Trail Mix Inc.’s executive director, Ryan O’Shaughnessy, right, walks with Mike McKrill off Lemon Creek Trail on June 4, 2022 after taking part in the organization’s annual National Trails Day event. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire)

Trail Mix Inc.’s executive director, Ryan O’Shaughnessy, right, walks with Mike McKrill off Lemon Creek Trail on June 4, 2022 after taking part in the organization’s annual National Trails Day event. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire)

Saturdays are for the trails: Trail Mix and volunteers work on Lemon Creek Trail

The organization brought back its in-person National Trails Day event.

A sunny morning brought out a healthy sweat as volunteers and staff members of Trail Mix Inc. shoveled, dug, levered, filled in and leveled Lemon Creek Trail on Saturday morning.

Volunteers and staff of the nonprofit organization widened the trail, removed large rocks, and improved drainage before Trail Mix held an event for National Trails Day at their new office in the Lemon Creek area.

“We had a great turnout and got a lot of good work done on the trail,” said Trail Mix executive director Ryan O’Shaughnessy in an interview. “This the first time we’ve done it since 2019.”

[CCFR handles multiple dry-weather fires]

About 25-30 volunteers came out, O’Shaughnessy estimated, while many more supporters visited the new office space afterwards. O’Shaughnessy took over the directorship in early 2020, and recently help spearhead the organization’s effort to secure the new office space.

“The staff put in a lot of time to prepare for this and it paid off,” said Trail Mix board member Chris Meade in an interview. “It’s a great turnout and we’re just getting started.”

Staff, volunteers and supporters also took the opportunity to visit the organization’s new headquarters building. The new space allows crew members to break out their equipment more effectively than the previous space, provided by the City and Borough of Juneau.

Dan Parks swings a pickax as a volunteer for Trail Mix Inc.’s National Trails Day event on Lemon Creek Trail on June 4, 2022. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire)

Dan Parks swings a pickax as a volunteer for Trail Mix Inc.’s National Trails Day event on Lemon Creek Trail on June 4, 2022. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire)

“It’s been nice to have all our tools in visible locations,” said Trail Mix project manager Duncan Campbell in an interview. “This space has been awesome so far and it’s only getting better.”

The space also allows administrative staff and crew members to work in the same space, furthering effective communication, Campbell said.

“I try to do Trails Day every year,” said state Sen. Jesse Kiehl, D-Juneau, in an interview. “This is such a great group and we have some of the best trails in the state because of them.”

Kiehl said he helped clear “ankle-turners,” large rocks in the trail that needed to be pried loose and then backfilled for a safer hike.

Juneau Parks and Recreation director George Schaaf, left, looks at a map with Trail Mix Inc. board member Chris Meade during the nonprofit’s annual National Trails Day event in their new office space on June 4, 2022. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire)

Juneau Parks and Recreation director George Schaaf, left, looks at a map with Trail Mix Inc. board member Chris Meade during the nonprofit’s annual National Trails Day event in their new office space on June 4, 2022. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire)

Members of partnering organizations, such as Southeast Alaska Independent Living and CBJ also came and volunteered time.

“We are so grateful for the partnership with Trail Mix,” said CBJ Parks and Recreation director George Schaaf in an interview. “We would have the trails system without them.”

Some volunteers came out for the first time this weekend as the event returns from its banishment by the pandemic.

Trail Mix Inc’s project manager Duncan Campbell makes a notation on a map at the nonprofit’s new office during their National Trails Day event on June 4, 2022 (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire)

Trail Mix Inc’s project manager Duncan Campbell makes a notation on a map at the nonprofit’s new office during their National Trails Day event on June 4, 2022 (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire)

“It was the perfect amount of time to get out there,” said Chris McNaughton, a first time volunteer. “It was harder than I thought it’d be but it wasn’t discouragingly hard.”

The benefits for the trail were as great as the benefits for the volunteers, said Dan Parks, who helped dig out the trail.

“It’s great. We get to play in the mud and meet a lot of cool people,” Parks said in an interview. “The trail looks a lot better. It makes a big impact.”

• Contact reporter Michael S. Lockett at 757-621-1197 or mlockett@juneauempire.com.

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