Volunteer – Wilderness Rangers
CONSIDER BECOMING A VOLUNTEER WILDERNESS RANGER
As an an all-volunteer organization, we depend for support entirely on lovers of wilderness like you! We offer two boots on the ground volunteer opportunities – Volunteer Wilderness Ranger (this page) and Trail Projects.
WHY VOLUNTEER? There are six major reasons people choose to volunteer*, and FENW can satisfy all six of them, in multiple ways. Here they are, in order of importance, with a few examples of how we can help: 1. Help others - become a Volunteer Wilderness Ranger (VWR) and meet hikers in the Wilderness, teaching them Leave No Trace principles. 2. Be involved in the community - more than sixty local residents make up our energetic and friendly team of VWRs and Trail Crews. 3. Contribute to a cause - public lands are facing historic threats; join our Advocacy Team to fight for the cause of Wilderness. 4. Develop new skills & have new experiences - our Trail Crews will teach you to use Pulaskis, Coronas, McLeods, Mattocks, and more in repairing damaged trails. 5. Use your skills in a productive way - we will match your skills - from trail maintenance to marketing - to fit your personal desire to help. 6. Stay fit - get out there in the most protected public land in North America We might add number 7: Have fun! * D.R. Heyman, Nonprofit Management 101, Jossy-Bass, 2011.
VWRs are on-the-trail multi-taskers, representatives of the United States Forest Service, meeting the public. They commit to a one-day training program, and at least four half-day trips in the field. To see the application, click here or see details at the bottom of this page.
Four Volunteer Rangers with one REAL USFS Ranger (second from left)
WHAT IS THE VOLUNTEER WILDERNESS RANGER PROGRAM?
Friends of the Eagles Nest Wilderness partners with the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) to help reduce the impacts of human activity in the Eagles Nest, Holy Cross, and Ptarmigan Peak Wildernesses.
– to help preserve and protect the natural conditions and Wilderness characteristics in the Eagles Nest, Holy Cross, and Ptarmigan Peak Wildernesses.
– to educate visitors and adjacent landowners of the values of Wilderness and of their role in maintaining the integrity of the Wilderness ecosystem.
– to teach visitors the
FUTURE: Plan Ahead and Prepare. Know the regulations and special concerns for the area you’ll visit. Prepare for extreme weather, hazards, and emergencies. Schedule your trip to avoid times of high use. Visit in small groups when possible. Consider splitting larger groups into smaller groups. Repackage food to minimize waste. Use a map and compass to eliminate the use of marking paint, rock cairns or flagging.
FOOTING: Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces. Durable surfaces include established trails and campsites, rock, gravel, dry grasses or snow. Protect riparian areas by camping at least 200 feet from lakes and streams. Good campsites are found, not made. Altering a site is not necessary. In popular areas: Concentrate use on existing trails and campsites; walk single file in the middle of the trail, even when wet or muddy; keep campsites small. Focus activity in areas where vegetation is absent. In pristine areas: Disperse use to prevent the creation of campsites and trails; avoid places where impacts are just beginning.
FILTH: Dispose of Waste Properly. Pack it in, pack it out. Inspect your campsite and rest areas for trash or spilled foods. Pack out all trash, leftover food and litter. Deposit solid human waste in catholes dug 6 to 8 inches deep, at least 200 feet from water, camp and trails. Cover and disguise the cathole when finished. Pack out toilet paper and hygiene products. To wash yourself or your dishes, carry water 200 feet away from streams or lakes and use small amounts of biodegradable soap. Scatter strained dishwater.
FLORA: Leave What You Find. Leave rocks, plants and other natural objects as you find them. Avoid introducing or transporting non-native species.Do not build structures, furniture, or dig trenches.
FIRE: Minimize Campfire Impacts. Campfires can cause lasting impacts to the backcountry. Use a lightweight stove for cooking and enjoy a candle lantern for light. Where fires are permitted, use established fire rings, fire pans, or mound fires. Keep fires small. Only use sticks from the ground that can be broken by hand. Burn all wood and coals to ash, put out campfires completely, then scatter cool ashes.
FAUNA: Respect Wildlife. Observe wildlife from a distance. Do not follow or approach them. Never feed animals. Feeding wildlife damages their health, alters natural behaviors, and exposes them to predators and other dangers. Protect wildlife and your food by storing rations and trash securely. Control pets at all times, or leave them at home. Avoid wildlife during sensitive times: mating, nesting, raising young, or winter.
FRIENDS: Be Considerate of Other Visitors. Respect other visitors and protect the quality of their experience. Be courteous. Yield to other users on the trail. Step to the downhill side of the trail when encountering pack stock. Take breaks and camp away from trails and other visitors. Let nature’s sounds prevail. Avoid loud voices and noises.
– to inform visitors about topics like natural history, trail and campsite locations and conditions, regulations, and wilderness history.
– to assist the USFS in quantifying and monitoring Wilderness conditions including noxious weeds, trail conditions, and recreational use.
– to foster stewardship for Wilderness among local residents, second-homeowners, and other visitors.
– helping others
– being involved in the community
– contributing to a cause
– developing new skills & having new experiences
– using your skills in a productive way
– staying fit
– having fun
Mandatory training for new volunteers is usually held on a Saturday in early June from 9 am until 4 pm. The venue alternates each year between the Minturn Ranger District and the Dillon Ranger District. A light breakfast is provided. Bring a sack lunch. Have shoes and clothes for a practice ranger hike in the afternoon.
2016 pictures HERE
2015 pictures here