A dedicated volunteer Union labor force arrived in numbers on Nov. 18 at Virginia’s York River State Park to complete a project they started over the summer when they turned out to lend their expert skills and hard work to the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA) Adopt-A-Park program. The project – chosen to improve walking and wheelchair access as well as overall safety for park visitors – brought together volunteers from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 666, United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters Locals 10, 540 and 110, the Virginia Building and Construction Trades Council, Virginia Pipe Trades, United Brotherhood of Carpenters Locals 613 and 388, and the Operative Plasters and Cement Masons Local 891.
Volunteers and park employees arrived to quite a different view of the work site compared to August, when the project first began. Then, the original pavement, laid down in the 1980s, was buckled, cracked and uneven from invasive tree roots hindering access to amazing scenic views by park visitors. The day’s tasks surrounded the pouring and finishing of the same concrete walkway, but the volunteers have been responsible for the entire project. Work from the first two phases of the job has included demolition of the original pathway, removal of the debris and the digging and construction that framed the new sidewalk.
“America’s more than 7,000 state and national parks receive more than a billion visits annually and are an intrinsic part of our country’s culture and legacy, but they’re continually faced with budget challenges and have a backlog of repair and maintenance projects,” said USA Executive Director Fred Myers. “In September, the USA was pleased to host its first conservation dinner in Richmond to raise funds for more projects in Virginia, as a part of its continued commitment to conservation efforts like the celebrated completion of the York River State Park project through its Adopt-A-Park program.”
Part of the Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve System, York River State Park is located on the York River with 2,550 acres of coastal forest and wetlands as well as 30 miles of trails. Park visitors can enjoy mountain biking, hiking and equestrian trails in the park’s main area, as well as the Croaker Landing fishing pier and boat launch area.
“The USA’s Adopt-A- Park program is most beneficial because these skilled laborers improve areas in the Parks for the citizens of the Commonwealth,” said Jonathan Tustin, park manager, York River State Park. “Replacing the damaged sections of the accessible Blue Bird Loop improves access for the physically challenged, enabling them to enjoy the beautiful views of the York River from the Park gazebo. We are extremely grateful to the USA for their generous support.”
About the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance:
The Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA) is a union-dedicated outdoor organization whose members hunt, fish, shoot and volunteer their skills for conservation. The USA is uniting the Union community to expand and improve hunting and fishing access and wildlife habitat throughout North America. For more information, visit www.unionsportsmen.org or www.facebook.com/unionsportsmen.