SSMRC volunteers help build fishing weigh-in pavilion

Union volunteers, including members of Millwright Local 1192, will soon complete site work and construction of a public fishing weigh-in pavilion at Alabama’s Smith Lake.

The pavilion was finished in April, and building trades members have since installed handrails and poured concrete sidewalks to provide access to the pavilion for people with disabilities. On May 21, four millwrights, three carpenters, and three of their sons did final grading work at the site, spread topsoil, and excavated for the last section of sidewalk, which will be poured the week of May 25.

Smith Lake, a 21,000-acre body of water located between Birmingham and Huntsville, is popular with tournament and recreational anglers across the nation.

The pavilion provides water access and can accommodate fish tanks to help reduce stress on fish and increase release survival rates at the weigh-in site. It will host recreational anglers as well as high school, college, amateur, and professional tournaments. When tournaments are not is session, the pavilion will be open to the public.

The project was provided to the community through a partnership between the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance, B.A.S.S. and Alabama Power. The Alabama AFL-CIO also supported the project.

Volunteers built the pavilion through the USA’s Work Boots on the Ground conservation program. “Our union volunteers are passionate about the outdoors and conservation, and they enjoy sharing their time and trade skills giving back to their communities,” said Robert Stroede, conservation manager for the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance.

In addition to Local 1192 millwrights, volunteers from the following unions donated their time and job skills: Operating Engineers Local 312, Laborers Local 559, Carpenters Locals 318 and 1209, and Iron Workers Local 92.

To build the pavilion, volunteers provided an estimated 1,000 hours of skilled labor valued at more than $50,000. In all, Stroede estimates the value of donated labor, materials, and machinery at more than $100,000.