Texas Members, Union Sportsmen’s Alliance Improve State Park
July 22, 2013
Union sportsmen take a back seat to no one when itcomes to expert, responsible hunting and fishing and working to preserve habitats for wildlife from neglect or abuse. But the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance, a union-dedicated outdoor organization, is setting an even broader example by infusing the principle of solidarity into a new program that brings together volunteers—including IBEW members—to tackle conservation projects in parks across the U.S.
Nineteen members of Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, Local 20 recently joined with other unionists to volunteer their skills to reconstruct three dilapidated bridges at Cedar Hill State Park, a popular destination close to the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex and its more than 6 million residents.
The 12-hour effort that included 72 volunteers representing the Dallas Building and Construction Trades Council was part of Adopt-A-Park, a new facet of USA’s Boots on the Ground program. Union volunteers donated their labor, but the $3,000 needed for lumber, screws, bolts and other building supplies was funded by the USA’s Dallas Area Conservation Dinner.
Participants in the Cedar Hill project wouldn’t have had power if it wasn’t for the help of signatory contractor Miller Electric, which supplied generators, battery-powered drills and extension cords,” says Local 20 Business Manager Karsten Frentrup.
Further engaging with their surrounding community and showing the best side of the labor movement, building trades members worked beside employees of the North Texas Job Corps Center and union contractor Beard Integrated Systems.
“Not only do state parks contribute to our physical and emotional health, they generate $20 billion in economic benefits to state and local communities. Yet they’re continually faced with budget cuts and looming closures and have a backlog of repair and restoration projects,” says USA Executive Director Fred Myers