FRANKLIN, Tenn. — As part of the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance’s (USA) Work Boots on the Ground conservation program, members of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT) District Council 81 and the Central Iowa Building and Construction Trades Council (BCTC) volunteered their time and trade skills to complete a large-scale restoration of a handicap-accessible fishing pier and fishing house at Lake Ahquabi State Park in Iowa June 6.
To complete the restoration, approximately 60 volunteers spent more than 800 man hours painting and staining the pier and fishing house, repairing the fishing house roof and replacing the old doors and windows. This project also included pouring a concrete pad and walkway at a picnic area and replacing the plumbing, lighting and wiring in the restroom facility. While the bulk of the materials were purchased by funds previously raised at the 2015 Iowa Conservation Dinner, the volunteers also used approximately $2,300 worth of donated materials.
“These projects are valuable to the park in many ways,” said Park Manager Josh Shipman. “They help the staff maintain heavily-used facilities, such as our fishing pier, while providing years of future use for anglers and other park users. By having skilled union members do the work, we are saving lots of money and time that can then be devoted to other areas of the park, while ensuring the work is done properly and professionally.”
The union volunteers are equally happy about the project, according to IUPAT District Council 81 Business Manager Robert Gilmore.
“The lakes, parks and campgrounds are used by all Iowans, and by volunteering to repair or restore them, we are giving back, not only to our families, but we are ensuring these resources can be enjoyed for many more generations of Iowans,” said Gilmore. “When we complete projects in the community, it reinforces the understanding that conservation, public land use and clean water are important to every citizen. That allows us to build bridges and foster working relationships.”
The Central Iowa BCTC also plans to demolish an unused building and haul away the rubble later in the year, pending permits.
Through the USA’s Work Boots on the Ground program, union members volunteer their time and trade skills to projects that conserve wildlife habitats, educate future generations of sportsmen and women, improve public access to the outdoors and restore America’s cherished parks. For more information about Work Boots on the Ground, email USA Conservation Manager Ty Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at 615-831-6751.