This spring, Wilderness Volunteers launched an exciting new program: Alternative Spring Break!

Designed to involve college students in the preservation and maintenance of our wild lands and wild places, WV’s Alternative Spring Break program will give students from college campuses across the country the opportunity to spend a week “giving something back” in the nation’s parks, forests, and wilderness areas and to become the next generation of environmental stewards and “wilderness volunteers.”

During the second week of March, ten James Madison University (Harrisonburg, VA) students and one faculty member packed their bags and headed west to Utah’s Zion National Park to spend their spring break clearing trails, moving rocks, digging trenches, and working hard. No beaches, suntans, wild parties, or lazy afternoons here.

“Team J-M-U” maintained trails and built earthen water bars across the East Rim and Left Fork Subway trails, improved the wheelchair accessible Emerald Pools trail, and broke ice and cleared a path along the popular Observation Point trail.

Take a look:

The 8-day trip was a success, and was arranged through Breakaway: The Alternative Break Connection, which has been instrumental in providing college students with opportunities to spend their hard-earned spring breaks performing community service focused on some of the world’s most important issues. REI generously donated tents, sleeping pads, and sleeping bags for the students to use.

The Zion service trip is the first all-student project that Wilderness Volunteers has organized as it endeavors to involve more college students in alternative spring break service trips across the country.

WV is currently scheduling projects for Spring Break 2010. For more information about how to connect your university group with a Wilderness Volunteers Alternative Spring Break Project, contact Dave Pacheco at

Thanks again to Team J-M-U for “Giving Something Back!”

P.S. To learn more about Breakaway and the Alternative Spring Break movement, listen to this interview with Breakaway’s Program Director: