Because local conditions and agency needs evolve, detailed project plans are often finalized or revised after the group arrives. The local agencies and trip leaders also review the conditions at the site in light of the capabilities and special interests of the volunteers. Volunteer Trips offer the opportunity to experience the land in a unique way not available to the average tourist. This trip is a good fit for adventurous travelers willing to work, who are comfortable with a flexible itinerary and truly want to make a difference.
Our volunteer trip begins today at 5pm when we meet and greet on the beautiful University of Alaska Southeast Campus. Volunteers will be lodged in the John R. Pugh Residence Hall here for the five nights we are in Juneau. We share an informal welcome dinner on the beautiful campus overlooking Auke Lake as we transition into Alaska, the land of the midnight sun. Dinner included.
Following breakfast, we start our first volunteer project day at Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center for an overview (emphasis on ?View!?) of the Mendenhall Glacier. We then meet our partners, the Juneau District Ranger and trail staff, have a group orientation, and safety/trail training. Part of the training includes ?Working in Bear Country? presented by a local expert. Post-training, we depart for the project location in the Mendenhall Glacier Recreation Area, where we spend the afternoon and next three days. Our trail work includes restoration of trail tread and alignment and vegetation management. Over the last several years, a number of glacial floods from Mendenhall Glacier have caused nearby Mendenhall Lake to rise flooding the nearby trails, campground, and neighborhood. Depending on conditions, we may help with repairs necessitated by this natural phenomenon. Breakfast, box lunch and dinner included.
Our second day working with the Juneau District Rangers and needed trail work. Breakfast, box lunch and dinner included.
Another day working with the Juneau District Rangers and needed trail work. Breakfast, box lunch and dinner included.
Our final day working in the Mendenhall Recreation Area with the National Forest Service. Breakfast, box lunch and dinner included.
Today we travel to Skagway via ferry on the Alaska Marine Highway through Lynn Canal. With a depth of over 2,000?, this is the deepest fjord in North America. At 90 miles long, it is also the longest in the world. We take a drive-through orientation tour of Skagway and then head seven miles out of Skagway to the historic town site of Dyea. There we check into the Chilkoot Trail Outpost, a rustic Bed and Breakfast and our home for the next five nights. All meals included.
This portion of our volunteer work takes place in Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park, where we will be working on an interpretive trail in the Dyea Townsite. With approximately 8,000 inhabitants during the Gold Rush in the late 1800?s, Dyea was once a bustling city. After the railroad was constructed from Skagway, Skagway became the community that endured; Dyea was quickly abandoned. Today, Dyea still piques the curiosity and imagination of visitors who seek out this remote location. Each afternoon, after our volunteer work is done, we head back to the Chilkoot Trail Outpost to freshen up and relax before dinner. Or, you may want to use one of the Outpost's bicycles to explore the area. All meals included.
Our second day of trail work in the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park. Breakfast, box lunch and dinner included.
A rest day today and time to see this historic area. After breakfast, we catch a ride on the historic White Pass & Yukon Route Railway. Built in 1898 during the Klondike Gold Rush, this down and back narrow-gauge railroad is an International Historic Civil Engineering Landmark. The route climbs nearly 3,000? through 20 miles of steep grades, cliffhanging turns, two tunnels and numerous trestles while showcasing stunning mountain views, gorges, glaciers and waterfalls. We return to Skagway this afternoon for free time to wander this historic down and find a fun place to have dinner on our own. Breakfast and box lunch included.
Its back to work for our final day in the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park, supporting the Park Service on needed upkeep of the trail system. We spend our last dinner together reminiscing of our time together and the friends we have made. Breakfast, box lunch and dinner included.
After an early breakfast, we catch an Alaska Fjordlines catamaran from Skagway to Juneau, where the Alaska Volunteer Trip ends. We expect to arrive in Juneau by noon, but do not schedule a flight before 2pm, because our boat will slow to enjoy whale sightings! Volunteers wishing to stay longer in Juneau should make their own reservations at local hotels. Breakfast and box lunch included.