You, too, can master the trails |

You, too, can master the trails

Dear Editor:

Despite concerns over possible federal budget-cutting for trails service on our White River National Forest this summer, a local partner is continuing to provide visitor services. Thanks to its volunteers and generous supporters, the Forest Conservancy is continuing to put boots on the ground.

Each summer, the Forest Conservancy fields about 100 trained volunteer rangers on forest trails and ambassadors at the Maroon Bells Visitor Center.

This organization has been an official partner with the Forest Service since 2001 and helps fill the gaps in trail service by reporting on forest health and safety and by providing directions and information for the public’s greater enjoyment of our magnificent forest resource.

I have been a volunteer ranger since 2007 and have clocked hundreds of miles hiking and communicating with visitors. I and the other rangers clean up illegal campfires, pick up trash, move small, downed trees and report trail problems to the Forest Service. I enjoy the outdoors and get my exercise. I hike with a purpose and love it. Ambassadors at Maroon Bells are there to answer visitor questions such as “why are the Bells Maroon” and “where is the restaurant?”

The Forest Conservancy also is in the process of training volunteers to become master naturalists to provide the public with a deeper level of forest knowledge and appreciation.

If you are interested in our organization and want to help fill the gap created by tight trails budgets, check us out on

Donna Grauer


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