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Volunteers repair damaged campground at Pine Hills

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WOLF LAKE (WSIL) -- Pine Hills Campground near Wolf Lake reopened Saturday afternoon after dozens of volunteers repaired damage left by vandals last week.

Officials with Shawnee National Forest Service and volunteers with Jeep'N Shawnee say the large turnout Saturday made for quick work.

After the recent snow storms, a person--or persons, did "doughnuts" in a number of spots throughout the campground, leaving ruts the volunteers removed.

Jeep'N Shawnee administrator Joe Santhoff says the group has a partnership with Shawnee, and for the past five years they have worked with them on maintaining and improving sites in the area.

"So today when we showed up, naturally the gate was closed," says Santhoff. "But our goal today is to fix the vandalism, to clean up the campsite areas for campers for summer, and when we leave, we want to be able to leave the gate open."

The group helps with keeping sites in shape with everything from picking up trash and painting signs, to building structures, such as the new pavilion at Pine Hills Campground. They say the area is a treasure-trove for outdoor activities, and it's their mission to protect and preserve it for generations to come.

Forest Service public affairs officer Richy Rosado says the partnership is a way Jeeps'N Shawnee improves the "play ground" where they "jeep around."

"Partnerships like this with the Jeeps'N Shawnee is a great opportunity for us to get work done and for them to also give back to the community," says Rosado. "They enjoy that opportunity to come here to the Shawnee National Forest and ride their jeeps."

The campground is open year-round and anyone with information on the damage should call police.

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