SAWS hosted eleven US Naval Academy Midshipmen at Cave Mountain Lake Campground in Natural Bridge Station, VA for a weekend of orientation and fellowship. The Midshipmen learned about SAWS, public lands, designated Wilderness, Leave No Trace, and were oriented to stewardship work and life on a SAWS crew to prepare them for the upcoming season. This upcoming summer, twelve Midshipmen will spend a month with SAWS, living and working in the backcountry for up to nine days at a time to help the US Forest Service accomplish critical projects in remote Wilderness areas on the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests in Virginia. During their training, they will learn about and connect to their protected public lands.
We are incredibly excited and honored to work with these bright future leaders of our country. Our hope with this program is that the Midshipmen utilize their leadership skills in a new environment while learning and growing confident with new skills. We also hope to instill a land ethic and a passion for public lands that will endure throughout their lives. The idea of protected public land is one of the vital American values they will protect in their Naval careers and it’s important that they understand and appreciate its benefits to all Americans.