April 30, 2014 — Local and state park officials hosted a special awards ceremony for a group of seven Americorps volunteers who spent the past month working at Carter Caves State Resort Park.
The group spent the majority of their time revitalizing the park's existing trail system and performing maintenance at several caves.
“Not only did they help with our trail system, but because of the work they've done, we're going to be able to go into Back Cave for the first time in four years,” said Park Manager Chris Perry.
“This group has really opened my eyes about how important the trail system truly is to the park,” he added.
“The before and after photos of just what these volunteers were able to accomplish on these trails is truly eye-opening,” said State Naturalist Rob Vanover.
The group not only performed debris removal on many of the trails but also installed new sections of cribbing to reinforce walking paths and, in some areas, installed new foot bridges.
They spent the previous month working on similar projects at Cumberland Falls State Resort Park.
Kentucky Parks Commissioner Elaine Walker and Community Volunteerism and Service Executive Director Joe Bringardner presented each of the volunteers with a special honor—official commissions as members of the Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels.
“This is the highest honor that the state can give to any civilian. It's right up there with awards that have been given to Elvis Presley and Muhammad Ali,” said Bringardner.
“What you've done for this park isn't just limited to this park. These trails are going to be a big driver of tourism for this are. You've not only improved our trail system, you've improved our economy,” said Sen. Robin Webb.
Nicole Schultz, the team leader for this assignment, reflected on her time in Kentucky.