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Become an IPWA Wilderness Volunteer



The Indian Peaks Wilderness Alliance (IPWA) partners with the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) Boulder Ranger District (BRD) to work collaboratively to preserve and protect these important wilderness areas. Our IPWA Wilderness Volunteers are the heart of our organization! The Wilderness Volunteer Program is for those who have time to volunteer seasonally or for the entire year - and can commit to completing annual training requirements, and agree to complete a minimum of four (4) service activities per calendar year.

Note: If you do not have time to volunteer for a full season/year, you may join us for one or more volunteer trail work projects during the summer months (see our Events page for upcoming dates). 

IPWA Wilderness Volunteers are uniformed and badged as U.S. Forest Service (USFS) Volunteers, and complete service activities that promote the IPWA's mission through four primary pillars: wilderness patrols, wilderness restoration, wilderness education, and wilderness outreach & advocacy.


The volunteer service activities we perform as part of those pillars are the following:

Volunteers who serve 250+ hours are eligible to receive a free Volunteer National Parks pass. Note that administrative and board activities are not counted as qualified service activities towards the park pass. 


  • Wilderness Volunteers must be at least 18 years old and have a passion for preserving and protecting the Indian Peaks and James Peak Wilderness Areas. Volunteers commit to completing a minimum of four (4) service activities per calendar year, and must adhere to the USFS Volunteer Service Agreement and Job Hazard Analysis (JHA), as well as mandates provided by the IPWA and U.S. Forest Service. 

  • Wilderness Volunteers are outfitted with a uniform (shirt, jacket, and name badge) to wear during public-facing volunteer activities (such as patrols, trailhead host, outreach events, etc.). Volunteers must also adhere to the IPWA Volunteer Code of Conduct and Uniform Policy.

  • Attendance at the full day mandatory training event held in early June is required for all new Wilderness Volunteers. Returning volunteers also have annual training requirements that must be completed. 

  • Volunteers who would like to join the patrol program (summer/winter) should be experienced hikers, familiar with Indian Peaks & James Peak Wilderness areas and comfortable hiking at elevations above 9,000 ft. Must have adequate fitness, as well as proper hiking gear including the 10 essentialsOther qualities we are looking for include good communication skills, experience interacting with the public, and appreciation of the outdoors!

Steps to Become an IPWA Wilderness Volunteer:

1. Review the requirements and consider if it is the right fit for you. Note: If you do not have time to volunteer for the full season/year, you may join us for one or more volunteer trail work projects during the summer months (see our Events page for upcoming dates). Visit our Trail Restoration Projects page to learn more.


2. If you are interested in becoming an IPWA Wilderness Volunteer, make sure to email us at and let us know that you interested in applying to become a volunteer for the upcoming season! We will add you to the volunteer interest list and send out email updates and reminders. 

3. The volunteer sign-up window opens in the spring (typically in April) for the summer season. Please note that the demand for our program is high. However, due to ongoing restrictions, the number of volunteer spots we are able to accept is limited, so all prospective new volunteers must complete an application process.


4. Keep an eye on your email for the New Volunteer Application announcement (typically send out in early April), then fill out the online application by the deadline (typically in mid April). 


5. If selected, applicants will go through a formal interview (via phone, Zoom, or in-person). This may occur several weeks after applications have been received and reviewed. Those who are not selected will be notified.


6. If accepted into the program, new volunteers will receive instructions to complete the registration paperwork and emergency contacts information. Volunteers pay annual dues of $25/year. New volunteers are asked to pay an additional one-time fee of $50 (total of $75) to offset the cost of training and uniforms. Scholarships are also available to cover dues.


7. New volunteers must complete online training in May and attend the mandatory in-person training day (typically the first Saturday in June). At training day, we will outfit you with your uniform (shirt, jacket, and name tag), provide you with training materials, parking pass and the volunteer handbook, and provide scenario-based training exercises. 


8. Volunteers commit to completing a minimum of four (4) service activities per calendar year (which may include patrols, trailhead host days, trail projects, helping with outreach events, etc.)

New volunteers who would like to join the summer patrol team are required to go on two patrols with a mentor (or with group patrols) prior to beginning regular/solo patrols. Patrols with a mentor or group are applied towards the minimum 4 service activities per year. 

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