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Volunteers needed for JBSA recreation park project

By Robert Goetz | Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph Public Affairs | Sept. 17, 2012

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas — Active-duty members, civilian employees and dependents have an opportunity to participate in a project Sept. 29 that will benefit a facility that serves all of Joint Base San Antonio as well as other Department of Defense personnel throughout South and Central Texas.

On National Public Lands Day, volunteers will create a new nature trail and develop 20 to 30 new primitive campsites at JBSA Recreation Park at Canyon Lake.

"We've received a grant to purchase all the equipment we need," John Guerra, Randolph natural resource manager, said. "I just need volunteers to get the work done."

Guerra, who estimated 20 to 30 volunteers will be required to complete the job, said Randolph obtained a $3,500 grant through the National Environmental Education Foundation's National Public Lands Day Department of Defense Legacy Award Program to pay for the project.

The funds cover a range of equipment and supplies, from a chainsaw, landscaping shears and rakes to wildflower and grass seeds, personal protective equipment and gasoline cans.

Guerra said the National Public Lands Day event, which will begin at 9:15 a.m., will include returning 30 abandoned primitive campsites to a natural state and developing the new sites, which will entail the clearing of underbrush, thickets and shrubs in a 6- to 8-acre area.

According to the grant application, returning the abandoned campsites to their natural state "will help promote re-growth, pollination and soil stabilization," while development of the new campsites "will help clean away dry tinder that can be an extreme fire hazard during times of severe drought."

Guerra said cutting the estimated 900-foot trail will require the removal of trees, rocks, brush and thicket.

"Wood material will be hauled to the park's chipper and turned into mulch," he said. "The mulch will be used as the trail's bed, and river rocks will line the trail."

The new trail will add another walking path to the park and connect two existing trails on what were formerly separate parks - Fort Sam Houston's on the north side of Jacobs Creek Park Road and Randolph's on the south side.

Jonathan Clifton, JBSA recreation park general manager, said the two parks were integrated in October 2010 and renamed JBSA Recreation Park.

"It is all under one management and all rules apply across the board," he said.

In addition to campsites and nature trails, the park, which is open to all DoD cardholders, features recreational vehicle sites with hook-ups; boat, canoe and kayak rentals; two fishing piers; soccer fields; beach volleyball courts; boat ramps; and waterfront access to Canyon Lake.

Part of the park is accessible to the general public, Clifton said.

"At the end of Jacobs Creek Park Road lies a public day park known as Jacobs Creek Park," he said. "It is also managed and operated by JBSA, yet it remains a separate area from the DoD-only areas of JBSA Recreation Park."

Guerra said Randolph has received several grants through the National Environmental Education Foundation's Legacy Award program in recent years, enabling the planting of native trees in Eberle Park in 2010 and wildflowers in 2011.

He said he is seeking volunteers from all three JBSA installations for this year's project and has invited Randolph's Boy Scout troop and members of the U.S. Navy Sea Cadet Corps-Alamo Battalion to participate.

For more information or to volunteer for the National Public Lands Day project, call Guerra at 652-7131.