trail crew with tools in front of trees

Author: Jim Mellen

Now that I am retired, you would think I might have a bit of spare time. And I do, or at least I did until “yes” became an overused word. Never have I been so busy, and never have I been so happy. Volunteering provides a deep satisfaction – something that cannot be purchased. While working on a project, I have occasionally said “You couldn’t pay me enough to do this. But I am happy to do it for free.”

My wife and I have met many awesome, aware, generous and fun-loving people through our volunteer work. Many of them have become very dear lifelong friends. In short, I have received FAR more than I have given. And it keeps on giving. Every time I pass a portion of a trail that I have built or maintained, that sense of ownership and satisfaction brings such joy!

I decided to make a list of my volunteer efforts:

  • Friends of Scotchman Peaks Wilderness – merchandise, hike leader, trail building, tabling
  • Kaniksu Land Trust – a few insignificant tasks
  • Festival at Sandpoint – Green team
  • Highway cleanup for FSPW, KLT and Larson’s
  • Search and Rescue
  • Wolverine research
  • Grizzly bear research
  • Panida Theater – handyman
  • Pend Oreille Pedalers – trail building and maintenance, serving on the board
  • Forest Service – Trail clearing, tree planting and trail building
  • Idaho Conservation League – hike leader
  • Sandpoint vegetarians
  • Montana Wilderness Assn – hike leader
  • Idaho Fish and Game – tree planting