2017 - $10,000 grant awarded by National Wilderness Stewardship Alliance Grant to a group of organizations that are involved with the River to River Trail in the Shawnee National Forest. Funding was used for new GPS mapping available online, signage across the complete  R2R trail and ground maintenance.  Friends of the Shawnee, Shawnee Trail Conservancy, River to River Trail Society, and Illinois Ozark Tours will be providing cash in kind as part of this grant.  

In-kind voluntary hours were to be provided by Friends of the Shawnee, STC, Camp Ondessonk CITs. Show Me Backcountry Horsemen, River to River Trail Society, Associated Saddle Clubs, Greencorps Chicago, Americorps, Wilderness Trail Crew Interns, Giant City Park, Shawnee Backcountry Horsemen, SIUC Touch of Nature and a few others who had not been able to commit by the deadline for the grant application to have their names added. 

For the STC, the in-kind cash was over 1000 hours of volunteer labor packing gravel into the wildernesses by pack animal.  Gravel is shoveled into buckets, lifted and dumped into pack saddles and then carried to a spot on the trail where it is dumped.  It is a tedious hard way to gravel trails but wilderness legislation stipulates no mechanical equipment be used.

Filling Buckets 

Pouring into paniers

Coming in for more gravel

Heading out to dump

On the trail

2018 -  2nd phase: The volunteers worked very hard packing in gravel on more spots in the Wilderness.  We recorded 1376 volunteer hours working on the River to River Trail. Most of the hours were spent packing gravel by animals into Wilderness areas.