Labor of love in the wilderness

Hikers, mountain bikers and equestrians who frequent the forests and mountain trails outside of Albuquerque and Santa Fe perform a vital role as guardians of these recreational areas. Each year, groups from local clubs put in thousands of volunteer hours to keep the trails clear of vegetation, repair weather- and fire-caused damage or create new routes to enhance the...

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Smokies park rangers need citizen science volunteers

Great Smoky Mountains National Park rangers are recruiting volunteers to adopt and monitor tree plots. The volunteers will collect information at tree plots throughout the park as part of an important research project tracking phenology, or cyclic and seasonal biological changes. For each plot of trees, volunteers will record when trees leaf out and when leaves start to...

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Volunteers key to making Appalachian Trail a success

The millions of people who enjoy the Appalachian Trail each year might not realize just what it takes to make its incredible recreational opportunities available to them. Though it features countless wonders of nature, the trail itself did not come about naturally. It took years of effort to achieve its completion, and in the nearly 80 years since then, it’s...

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Appalachian Trail Volunteers Report Record Number of Hours During Federal Fiscal Year

For fiscal year 2015, a record-breaking 6,827 volunteers reported approximately 272,477 hours to maintaining and protecting the Appalachian Trail (A.T.) for hikers to use. Since the ATC began collecting reports in 1983, individuals have contributed more than 5 million hours to the A.T., resulting in a volunteer network that is recognized worldwide. The record number of...

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American Express Announces $5 Million Grant to Increase Volunteering in America’s National Parks

American Express (AXP) and U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell today announced a multi-year partnership to increase volunteerism in National Parks and Public Lands. The $5 million grant over four years from American Express will help the Department of the Interior (DOI) and National Parks Service (NPS) build volunteer coalitions to preserve and sustain America’s...

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Walking into history: volunteers improve the Mason-Dixon Trail

On June 6th, 1765, Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon placed an oak post at the point on their survey where the West or Mason-Dixon Line (northern boundary of Maryland) intersected with the North Line that formed the boundary between Maryland and the three lower counties of Pennsylvania (later to become Delaware). The survey divided the lands of the Calverts (Maryland) and...

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Volunteers Donate More than 200,000 Hours in 2014 to Maintaining the Appalachian Trail

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) has announced that for fiscal year 2014, 5,617 volunteers reported 241,936 hours to maintaining and protecting the Appalachian Trail (A.T.) for hikers to use. Since the ATC began collecting reports in 1983, individuals have contributed more than 5 million hours to the A.T., resulting in a volunteer network that is recognized...

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Bighorn Resource Advisory Committee

The Bighorn National Forest is seeking to fill openings on the Bighorn Resource Advisory Committee. The committee’s duties include recommending projects and funding to improve forest health, watersheds, roads, and facilities on or adjacent to the Bighorn National Forest. The committee oversees funding authorized under Title II of the Secure Rural Schools Act. The Act...

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Volunteers help build a better Appalachian Trail

Visitors from across the country and throughout the world make the journey to Maine to hike the Appalachian Trail, and they have volunteers from just as far afield to thank for the trail’s upkeep. “If you are hiking, you’d rather not have mud up to your ankles every step you are taking,” stated Ron Dobra, a sort of volunteer district manager for a...

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Appalachian Trail Conservancy reports record number of volunteer hours

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) is pleased to announce that volunteers devoted a record number of hours last year to maintaining and protecting the Appalachian Trail (A.T.) for hikers to use. For the federal fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2013, close to 6,000 volunteers reported approximately 245,500 hours, donating time equivalent to what is completed by 118...

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Waterfall trail at Pantertown looking for sweat donations

Volunteers are needed in Panthertown Valley, NC during Memorial Day weekend on Saturday, May 25, 2013 to help complete a new section of the Wilderness Falls Trail. The work will entail re-routing the popular trail to make for safer and easier access to the waterfall below. There will be no more than five miles of hiking, and the work will be completed by 2:30 p.m. REI...

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Volunteers Needed to Staff Information Center at Clingmans Dome

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is recruiting volunteers to help staff the visitor information center at Clingmans Dome through November 30. The visitor information center at Clingmans Dome sits at an elevation of 6,300 feet and is a point source of information for the national park and the high elevation spruce fir ecosystem, in particular. Volunteers are needed to...

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Volunteers sought to staff fire lookout towers in the Angeles National Forest

Volunteers are needed to staff fire lookout stations in the Angeles National Forest this summer, officials said. The Angeles National Forest Fire Lookout Association is recruiting volunteers to man the Slide Mountain Lookout as well as Vetter Mountain Peak, “to protect the forest and local mountain communities from the threat of fire,” ANFFLA officials said...

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FRIENDS of the Blue Ridge Parkway Celebrates Its 25th Anniversary

FRIENDS of the Blue Ridge Parkway (FRIENDS) has launched a two-year 25th anniversary celebration commemorating the volunteer-driven organization’s founding in North Carolina in 1988 and in Virginia the following year. “We believe the best way to celebrate a quarter century of service to the Blue Ridge Parkway is with a renewed commitment to America’s...

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Smokies Park Volunteers Needed for Roving

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is recruiting volunteers to assist park visitors by roving the Oconaluftee River Trail, Mountain Farm Museum and fields along Highway 441 (Newfound Gap Road). The volunteer positions will be available from now through November 9, 2013. These volunteers will provide information regarding various park regulations including littering,...

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An Appreciation for Those Who Came Before

The expansive views of the Southern Appalachian Mountains from the summit of Hemphill Bald are enough to make anyone want to plop down in the tall grass and spend the day watching the shadows of clouds flow across the landscape. Great Smoky Mountains National Park lies like a pearl on the string of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, the thread running down the spine...

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Blue Ridge Parkway head to retire April 1

If you want to run the busiest national park unit in the country, you need to know the people who make the park tick. From the rangers to the visitors to the local business owners and the volunteers. The people who know Phil Francis, the superintendent of the Blue Ridge Parkway for nearly 8 years, say he has been that kind of leader. Unlike many government bureaucrats...

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WTA volunteers set record for trail work

Volunteers working with the Washington Trails Association contributed nearly 100,000 hours of work across the state this year. The nearly 2,700 volunteers contributed $2 million worth of service to state’s public lands, according to the group. Among the numbers from this year’s effort, work was done on a record 170 different trails. The effort included 636 day trips, 26...

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After Sandy, Lewisboro Volunteers Make Hiking Trails Safe

“We need to clear these trails so people can go for a hike.” After Hurricane Sandy hit, northern Westchester’s preserves, reservations and parks took a huge hit as hundreds of trees were knocked over, many obstructing hiking trails. Others hung at precarious angles, presenting a danger should they fall. But thanks to the Westchester Land Trust’s cadre of stewards and...

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Trail Magic: Many Hands Keep Hikers’ Feet Moving

One aspect of the hike often not considered is the path itself. This, after all, is the fabled Appalachian Trail, which extends some 2,200 miles from Georgia to Maine, and one takes for granted that even though the path rose and fell sharply with the undulating terrain – calling these sections “MUDs and PUDs” for “mindless ups and downs and pointless...

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“Over the Hill Gang” volunteers for Prescott’s trail system

Prescott, AZ has the perfect ingredients for constructing trails using mostly free labor. This “volunteer” labor comes in all shapes and sizes ranging from schools, church groups, and non-profits to”‘non-voluntary” community service and restitution programs. There are also more specialized trail building groups such as the local mountain biking,...

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More than 170,000 Volunteers Expected on National Public Lands Day, September 29

More than 170,000 volunteers are expected at more than 2,100 sites across the country on Saturday, September 29 to take part in the largest single-day volunteer effort for public lands in the United States, National Public Lands Day (NPLD). Volunteers in every state will visit parks, public and community gardens, beaches, wildlife preserves or forests and chip in to help...

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Volunteers building Stevens Pass, WA hiking trail

Dennis and Sandy Evans are so dedicated to the construction of the Iron Goat Trail near Stevens Pass, they even got married on the hiking trail back in 1995. The Marysville couple, now in their late 60s, have spent the past 20 years volunteering their “free” time each summer to help build and maintain the popular 10-mile trail in the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie...

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Smokies seeks volunteers to maintain cabins

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is recruiting volunteers for an Adopt-a-Cabin program. Park spokeswoman Molly Schroer said the park needs light maintenance work done at more than 90 historical structures in the Smokies. The tasks involve picking up trash and debris as well as removing graffiti. The Smokies has one of the best collections of log buildings in the...

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Christine Hoyer named top employee at Great Smoky Mountain National Park

Christine Hoyer has been named Employee of the Year at Great Smoky Mountain National Park. The award, which recognizes outstanding work of park employees, was presented at a public ceremony at park headquarters in Tennessee on May 7. Hoyer is the Trails & Facilities Volunteer Coordinator in the park and she is in charge of four main park volunteer programs:...

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Now Accepting Applications for 2012-2013 AmeriCorps Project Conserve Service Term

AmeriCorps Project Conserve is now accepting applications for 32 public service positions at 20 environmental non-profits across western North Carolina that focus on land conservation, water quality, energy conservation and local agriculture. Application deadline is May 22. AmeriCorps Project Conserve is a national service program in which members come from across the...

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Voluntourism Spotlight: The American Hiking Society

Are you an avid hiker? Do you always find yourself hunting for your next challenging adventure? Do you dream about jagged peaks, cascading waterfalls and wild bears? If you answered yes to any of these questions, the American Hiking Society has 9 days of hiking and conservation planned this summer. Join the group at North Cascades National Park Complex in Washington...

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Matches Made in the Wilderness, in the Name of Science

Gregg Treinish, an experienced outdoorsman, organized an outing to track the elusive wolverine, the largest member of the weasel family, across rugged landscape. A dozen volunteers had come to learn how to track the animal’s prints and collect scat and hair samples as a part of an effort called Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation. The program, which Mr. Treinish...

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Volunteers needed to help preserve and protect national parks

It wouldn’t make a very appealing Help Wanted ad. “Needed: Someone to put in long hours for no pay, walking long distances to help government workers do their job.” Nevertheless, some people might jump at the volunteer assignment because it involves hiking in world famous scenery and protecting some of the treasures of southeastern Utah. It’s a...

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Volunteer crews troll the forests to keep trails clear

Next time you hike a trail, pause a minute and give silent thanks to the legion of trail volunteers who have taken up arms and engaged in hand-to-hand combat with the forest, hacking back the undergrowth and clearing obstructive logs. Volunteer trail crews devoted 28,000 hours of labor in North Carolina national forests last year. It often seems like an uphill battle,...

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