Friends of Dillon Ranger District seeks volunteers
SUMMIT COUNTY – For those who cherish recreational opportunities in the White River National Forest, Friends of the Dillon Ranger District has the perfect summer volunteer opportunity.The nonprofit organization’s Forest Steward volunteers serve as the eyes and ears – and even the muscles – of the Dillon Ranger District by educating the public, maintaining trails, planting trees, assessing trail use and answering visitors’ questions on the trail.”The volunteers help make people more aware of where they are,” said Christiane Hinterman of Friends of the Dillon Ranger District (FDRD). “Some people might not know they’re even in a National Forest or what that means.”FDRD works in partnership with the Forest Service’s Dillon Ranger District to promote stewardship of National Forest lands in the Summit County area. Volunteers help further that mission each summer, when thousands of hikers and bikers head into the forest.”They’re a presence for the Forest Service and for our nonprofit in places where there won’t be paid rangers. They teach people the ethics of how to use the forest properly, but they don’t enforce regulations. There are opportunities for them to help people better respect public land,” Hinterman said.According to Hinterman, the FDRD volunteers are an important source of information for the Forest Service. Downed trees or damage to trails, for example, might otherwise go unnoticed and unaddressed. Some volunteers gather crucial data on trail use that helps the Forest Service manage recreational resources.FDRD asks its volunteers to work at least four days per summer. But volunteers get as much out of the experience as they put in.”We have a group of people who have done it for years. They are enthusiastic, and they love it. Our retired folks love being out there, doing something social and physically active. The young people are gaining leadership skills and experience,” Hinterman said.For some, the satisfaction comes from taking care of their favorite trails. In 2009, FDRD volunteers improved and patrolled more than 240 miles of trails.Julie Sutor can be reached at (970) 668-4630 or email@example.com.
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