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C4 Testimonial from Curtis Baird

From Curtis Baird, C4 trail worker, 2020: 

The C4 idea was conceived in early 2020 as the Corona virus pandemic was going into full swing.  East Coast Tom Caldwell and Mike Reardon, the Carolina Climbers Coalition's President and Executive Director respectively, were beginning work on the Pumpkintown Trail in Table Rock State Park, South Carolina.  Access to a new section of cliff, Pumpkintown, had just been secured on the condition that a 2 mile hiking trail would be completed to its base.  With lockdowns and park closings looming all over the country, the future was uncertain.  Evidence of the depression-era Civilian Conservation Corps' work was apparent all over the park.  Tom and Mike thought, "why don't we create our own conservation corps?"  The Carolina Climbers Conservation Corps, aka C4, was born. 

The goal then became to hire local climbers whose work had been affected by the coronavirus pandemic.  The CCC put the word out to raise the funds required to hire a work crew.  By early May, the CCC had hired 8 local climbers, and I was lucky enough to be one of them.  I was in the middle of Advanced EMT school when the pandemic came and put my finish date on hold.  I needed work until I could finish.  The C4 crew fit what I needed perfectly.  I had already been a steady volunteer with the CCC, so I was stoked that working for the organization was now my job. 

Over the course of last summer, the C4 crew, along with Tom, Mike, and other selfless volunteers, worked on trail projects in North Carolina, Tennessee, and South Carolina.  The crown jewel being the hiking trail to Pumpkintown.  The schedule was flexible and crew members worked when available.  It was great for me, because I was able to work and complete my schooling during the same time period.  The work was extremely labor intensive, especially in the southern summer humidity, but it was nothing short of pure fun at the same time.  I made lifelong friends in my crew and have gone climbing with several of them.  2020 was a very hard year for most people.  I am blessed that I got to spend part of it doing something that benefited so many people, and was so rewarding and fun at the same time.  It has truly been one of the highlights of my life. 

A most sincere thank you to Tom, Mike, the CCC, and all the donors that made this idea a reality.