STANLEY — Join a work party in the Sawtooth Mountains this summer. The Sawtooth Society’s Austin Kraal Memorial volunteer program is seeking new volunteers to join the growing number of people who are working to improve the Sawtooth National Recreation Area.
The Sawtooth Society’s volunteer and stewardship program conducts more than 20 restoration projects per year in the Sawtooth recreation area, which involves nearly 200 volunteers.
At the suggestion of his parents, the Sawtooth Society’s Austin Kraal Memorial Volunteer Program was formed in 2011 in honor of Austin Kraal, who worked many summers in the Sawtooth NRA as a volunteer for the trail crew. The founding principle of the program was to give youths and adults alike the opportunity to spend time in the beautiful Sawtooth recreation area while working on various maintenance and improvement projects.
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The program is the largest of its kind, and involves hundreds of urban and at-risk youth projects on the ground, aimed to build participants’ understanding of nature, disconnect from technology and open their eyes to the grandeur of the area. The program also partners with other groups to accomplish its goals.
Since its inception, the program has grown every summer. Groups from Twin Falls, Ketchum, Boise, Emmett and beyond have traveled to the Sawtooth Mountains to clear trail, build fences, plant shrubs, tear down barbed wire and clean campsites.