Most people know that walking, hiking, and backpacking have many benefits—improved physical fitness, reduction of stress, and a greater sense of well-being among them. Anyone who has hiked a few miles probably has favorite kinds of trails. Some people like flat, paved surfaces; others prefer hilly, duff-covered pathways. There are those who want to walk along the seashore, and those who want to climb through the forest.
For sure, most any kind of path that you take, someone or some group went before you and created that route, and others will later have to maintain it. This gives you an opportunity to pay back and whether it would be your first or your hundredth time, if you are ready and willing to help the trail community and protect our natural world, there are always plenty of places that could use your help. Here is a sampling:
National and International:
Sunday, April 19-Saturday, April 25. Wilderness Volunteers kicks off the season of their volunteer work with a project in Utah. “Our service project along the scenic Colorado River road and towering Wingate sandstone cliffs is trailwork on several trails leading to some of the premier hiking destinations in the area. We’ll work on trails leading to Grandstaff Canyon, Castle Rock and Fisher Towers. We’ll camp in a group campsite reserved for us by the BLM near the trails. On our day off, we’ll have our pick of areas to visit including hiking to arches.” At their website, you will find many other projects for this year including some in Hawaii, Alaska, the SW, and California. Wilderness Volunteers link here.
Various dates. Yosemite Conservancy is seeking park entrance greeters, work week crews, visitor information assistants, and more. For example, work week crews could be out in the giant sequoias groves in the Mariposa, Merced and Tuolumne groves or with the Keep Bears Wild Project in Yosemite Valley’s campgrounds. Yosemite Conservancy volunteer link here.
Various dates. Pacific Crest Trail Association. Those 2,650 miles of trail from the Mexican border to the Canadian one require trail building, trail maintenance, and erosion control work throughout the year at various spots along the route. Whether you would prefer to spend a few days in the desert, mountains, or forest, there is a project for you. PCTA link here.
San Francisco Bay Area:
Wednesday, February 25. 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. Save Mount Diablo. Meeting will be at SMD Office, 1901 Olympic Blvd. Suite 320, Walnut Creek. This meeting will discuss many ways that volunteers can help. At their “New Steward Orientation,” those interested in discovering new properties on and around Mt. Diablo can find a way. “Save Mount Diablo manages 2,300 acres and is looking for local volunteers to help with the stewardship of this open space. Join Board Member and Stewardship Committee Chair John Gallagher and SMD staff George Phillips and Jim Cartan for an informational session discussing Save Mount Diablo’s mission and how volunteer stewards help us reach our goals. We are looking for volunteers with an array of qualifications and interests. We’ll provide food and refreshments. Please RSVP to Jim at jcartan@SaveMountDiablo.org or (925) 947-3535. Leaders: SMD Staff Jim Cartan and George Phillips, SMD Board Member John Gallagher.”
Saturday, Feb. 28, 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. El Cerrito Trail Trekkers invites you to join a work party along Cerrito Creek and Albany Hill. This project is with Friends of Five Creeks, Albany Hill Stewards and El Cerrito’s Green Teams to remove invasive plants and trash and even plant a few natives close to the creek, as well as remove ivy and cape ivy uphill. Meet at El Cerrito’s Creekside Park, south end of Santa Clara Ave. Wear long pants, long sleeves, and closed-toed shoes with good traction. Tools, gloves, water, snacks, and good company provided. Five Creeks link here. Go to their websites to see the many other activities scheduled by these organizations (including hikes and work projects).
Various dates. Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy offers a wide range of volunteer opportunities throughout San Francisco, the Presidio, Marin, and San Mateo counties. Unlike some of the other organizations, the Parks Conservancy does not a lengthy time commitment and they welcome drop-in volunteers. Link to Parks Conservancy here.