A Day in the Life…

A Day in the Life of a Wilderness Volunteer

I. Contact your fellow volunteer (Today or as soon as possible and then again about a week before your trip).

  1. Discuss who will drive, where you will meet, etc.
  2. Discuss what equipment you will share and who will bring what.
  3. Discuss whether you will share meals or prepare your own.

II. Contact the Forest Service (A couple of days before the trip).

  1. Find out about trail conditions.
  2. See how many permits have been issued for your travel zones.
  3. Find out about any special problems or restrictions in effect.

III. Arrive at the trailhead.

  1. Arrive early if you will be traveling across the divide or traveling to a high altitude. (If the weather is really nasty, don’t be afraid to postpone your trip. Your safety comes first.)
  2. Do a parking lot survey (count the cars). (Copy the report form and take it with you.)
  3. Greet people at the trailhead and answer their questions (How far is it to the lake? How long will it take to get there? Where can I go in an hour?).
  4. Talk with obvious backpackers to make sure they understand that they need a permit to camp in the Indian Peaks.

IV. Hiking the trail

  1. Keep a record of the people, dogs or other animals you see and contact while hiking including backpackers and whether or not they have a permit.
  2. Speak with anyone who is obviously breaking regulations or causing potential problems. Use the “Authority of the resource”.  Talk about the impact not the regulations. Take dog leashes or rope to offer visitors with dogs.
  3. Answer people’s questions (How far is it to the lake?), try to avoid arguments and above all be a Host.
  4. Do light trail maintenance as you go. (See trail maintenance tips.)

V. Arriving at your destination

  1. Find a “Leave no Trace” compatible spot to set up your camp.
  2. Walk around and introduce yourself to other campers (if you are comfortable doing so) and let them know you are there to help and answer questions (What kinds of fish are in this lake? What are they biting on?) Take your first aid kit with you so you can offer band-aids for blisters etc. See Authority of the Resource Guidelines.
  3. Make a mental note of any good camping spots to direct any latecomers to and also note any campfires that need to be broken up. Note any hazardous; trees that could fall on obvious camp sites. Warn other campers and report them to the Forest Service on your report.
  4. At some point, end your day, kick back and enjoy yourself.

VI. Next day

  1. After breakfast, check any vacated campsites for trash or damage
  2. Break up any illegal campfire rings. (Take work gloves, a good shovel and trash bags.)
  3. Make notes of any potential problems or site restoration that needs attention.

VII. Head on back down the trail

  1. Keep a record of the people, dogs or other animals you see and contact while hiking including backpackers and whether or not they have a permit.
  2. Speak with anyone who is obviously breaking regulations or causing potential problems. Use the “Authority of the resource”. Talk about the impact not the regulations. Take dog leashes or rope to offer visitors with dogs.
  3. Answer people’s questions (How far is it to the lake?), try to avoid arguments and above all be a Host.

VIII. Arrive at the trail head

  1. Do a parking lot survey.
  2. Fill in and submit your report
  3. It is very important to get your report in as soon as possible so that hosts hiking the following weekend or even during the week will have your latest information.
  4. You can file your report that night at home through our web sight and the Forest Service will be able to use it the next morning.
  5. Report any emergencies or aid given to the Forest Service.

Tips

Emergencies

Know where emergency phones are located:

  1. Town of Eldora at the end of paved road.
  2. Peaceful Valley, east side of Hwy 72 across from Forest Service Campground.
  3. Town of Allenspark.

In case of injury/illness:

  1. Send one volunteer for help (with the keys to your vehicle). Leave another volunteer with the injured visitor.
  2. Mark the location on a map to give to rescuers.
  3. You may offer any first aid you are trained for if you wish to do so but it is not your job as a volunteer. Your job is to get help.
  4. Report any emergencies or aid given to the Forest Service.

Trail Maintenance

Recommended equipment: small saw, small collapsible shovel, leather work gloves, plastic trash bags, small baggies to pick up trash.

  • Divert running water off of trails when possible by knocking down berm on side of trail to allow running water or pools of water to flow off trail. Place stepping stones when terrain does not allow water to flow off trail. (Try to use reasonably flat and stable rocks to prevent twisted ankles) This will prevent people from going around creating new trails.
  • Block/slash off new trails.
  • Move or cut fallen trees off trail. If unable to move tree off trail, trim any branches and stubs at a place directly above trail so hikers will climb over the tree and still be on the trail. (Only if you can do so safely)
  • Remove loose rocks from the trail that are the size of your fist or greater.(recognizing certain trails are really rocky where this is impossible)
  • Always pick up trash and pack it out.
  • Break up fire rings and make them disappear

(Report any needed trail maintenance beyond your ability to the Forest Service)