People travel for a variety of reasons - to learn about other cultures, to enjoy new foods, to take adventures and even for medical tourism. A growing trend that is having a positive impact on local communities, however, is "voluntourism," the act of volunteering for a cause while traveling.
Often, these are people who visit a destination to help in a notable project. It allows people to not only experience a new destination, but also to give back to the community through volunteer projects. It's taking place around the world, as travelers want to not only "see" a destination, but also feel like a part of the destination through their work.
Locally, there is an opportunity for outdoor enthusiasts to give back through work with Alaska Trails in Hatcher Pass. The organization has four upcoming events where volunteers are needed to improve trail infrastructure in several locations.
On Friday, July 19 and Saturday, July 20, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., volunteers are needed to harden 1/3 mile of new trail on the Upper Mill Loop with gravel. Volunteers should register before by clicking HERE, and following the link. Then, meet at the Independence Mine State Historic Park upper parking area for a briefing at 9 a.m. They said experience is helpful but not required. Bring a lunch, snacks, water and work gloves, but leave the pets, alcohol and firearms at home. Volunteers must be 18 or older.
Alaska Trails also is looking for volunteers for work on the new Settlers Bay Coastal Trail on August 17 and September 21. Participants will help smooth newly established tread and prep the trail for gravel. They'll be using hand tools to smooth trail, remove berms, sculpt back slopes, and remove overhanging limbs to keep the trail corridor clear and ready for hikers and trail users.
More information on these trail volunteer opportunities can be found on Alaska Trails' Facebook page here.