Today is Saturday, October 22, 2016

An Altruistic Alternative for Spring Break

crystal river hiking

A leader in volunteer tourism, American Hiking Society is inspiring the next generation of environmental stewards and offering millennials impactful, adventure-filled volunteer opportunities for their next spring break. Their just-released 2017 Alternative Break trip schedule is chock-full of service vacations geared specifically towards college student groups and young professionals interested in giving back to the environment.  Tailored to accommodate novice trail maintainers, these volun-tour trips combine day hiking, trail conservation, camaraderie, and nature exploration within a week's time. 

In addition to providing colleges and universities with an alternative to the traditional spring break beach retreats, Alternative Break provides vital volunteer assistance to land managers as they ready their parks and trails for busy visitor seasons.  "Alternative Break is a win-win for trail conservation and millennial volunteers," comments Libby Wile, American Hiking Society's Senior Director of Volunteer Stewardship.  "Alternative Break encourages, educates, and equips students and young professionals to be public land champions in their own communities, provides park managers with dedicated and enthusiastic volunteers, and improves outdoor access for the public."

The 2017 Alternative Break schedule offers rewarding trail work projects in four different states including California, Florida, Missouri, and Virginia.  Accommodations are comfortable and vary from car-camping tent sites to fully furnished cabins to ensure the right fit for each group. All trips provide free time to explore the surrounding landscape, hike, or enjoy the cultural offerings of nearby attractions.  Examples of available projects include:

  • Florida:  Known for its exceptional natural beauty, undisturbed islands, and nearby population of manatees, Crystal River Preserve State Park, provides students the chance to get up close and personal with native wildlife while performing maintenance on the Churchhouse Hammock Trail.
  • California:  Close to San Francisco, Santa Clara County Parks, offers students the opportunity to vacation amidst the breathtaking views of the Santa Cruz Mountain Range while completing a trail construction project in beautiful Calero County Park.   
  • Virginia: Natural Bridge State Park provides students the opportunity to perform vital trail maintenance on 6 miles of hiking trails, contributing to the successful opening of Virginia's newest state park. 

Campsite or cabin accommodations, park entrance fees, tools, project supervision, project and meal planning guidance, use of cooking gear, and a one-year membership with American Hiking Society are all included in the registration fee, making American Hiking's Alternative Breaks an affordable way to adventure travel over break.  This is a once in a lifetime chance for students to connect with the land and spend their break doing something that makes a lasting difference.

To learn more about the Alternative Break program, visit or call (800) 972-8608.

About American Hiking Society
Founded in 1976, American Hiking Society is the only national, recreation-based nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting and protecting America's hiking trails, their surrounding natural areas and the hiking experience.

American Hiking Society's stewardship programs are made possible by the generous support of our partners - Dominion Foundation, REI, The North Face® Explore Fund™, Vasque, and Backpacker's Pantry, as well as our Federal Public Land Partners -  Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, USDA Forest Service, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

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