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Sierra Club Trip Proposal

Some of you may know that I have been training to become a Sierra Club trip leader over the past ~6 months. A Sierra Club trip leader role is exactly what it sounds like: someone who volunteers with the non-profit to take people into the wilderness. I have to plan the multi-day backpacking trip, the food, the safety plan… the whole thing. It’s really a fun process; something I’ve been doing for a long time informally with friends, but am happy to do for such a good cause and non-profit like the Sierra Club.

Anyway, part of the leadership training process is putting together a trip proposal. Most of these proposals (like the trips I traditionally go on) are backpacking trips. After all, John Muir himself (the founder of the Sierra Club) was an avid hiker and camper. Some of my best memories are being on backpacking trips, and yet…

I’ve always enjoyed water. I was a competitive swimmer for over a decade. Have been a kayaker for longer than that. Sleeping by the water, hiking along it, fly fishing in it, relaxing beside it… all of these things hold special places in my memories. It brings me peace that I have difficulty finding in other places.

And so, for my first Sierra Club trip proposal, I decided to buck convention. I’m not planning a backpacking trip, but a canoeing trip along the only undammed river off the Lake Michigan watershed: the Perre Marquette.

The trip should run in 2019 (if I complete my training to satisfaction, and if everything goes well). I’ll be taking around 10 folks along with me during the river’s salmon run for almost a week of fishing, canoeing, and day hikes. The trip really promises to be something pretty special, I hope, and will show people the dramatic negative effects that dams have on our wildlife.

In preparation for the trip, however, I need to do some scouting. To that end, I plan on taking a small group of friends on an exploratory expedition this Summer. This will be a good opportunity to become familiar with the waters, fishing holes, and beaches. It’ll also be a good opportunity to take some friends of mine who’ve never been on this kind of trip along and learn with and from them. A few people have already committed themselves to joining me, but if you’re up for a fun expedition in June of this Summer, and can afford to take about a week off meandering the rivers of Michigan (or if  you’re interested in staying informed about the 2019 trip) drop  me a line.


Jay Margalus is on Twitter at @jaymargalus

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