Susan Cross of Snowmass Village named RFOV’s Volunteer of the Year
Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers celebrated 18 years of trail and conservation projects with a party honoring the volunteers and organizations that make those projects possible on Oct. 24 at the Third Street Center in Carbondale.
Each year, Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers recognizes project and committee volunteers, partners and sponsors that have gone the extra mile to help fulfill the nonprofit’s mission of promoting stewardship of public lands by engaging the community in volunteer trail and conservation projects.
Susan Cross, of Snowmass Village, was named volunteer of the year for 2013. Since 2002, Cross has worked on nearly 70 trail and restoration projects. She also serves on the volunteer development committee, mans trailhead tables to sign up volunteers and posts fliers of upcoming projects.
Cross, who is manager of Buttermilk Mountain for Aspen Skiing Co., also helped coordinate, support and recruit volunteers for Group Work Days on behalf of Skico employees. An active environmentalist, Cross also received the Volunteer of the Year Award in 2011.
Cross also won the Pulaski Award, which goes to the volunteer who has completed the most projects during the season. She volunteered on a total of 12 project days this year. She won the same award in 2009 for having worked on nine projects.
Charlie Eckart received the Steward of the Year Award, given to the volunteer who has made a significant contribution over many years. Eckart, one of Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers’ first regular volunteers, started in 1996, became a crew leader in 1997 and has been involved in more than 100 projects and serves on the project selection committee.
Ambassador of the year is Helen Carlsen, who started volunteering on trails and projects in 1995. In 2011, Carlsen became a Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers ambassador, coordinating trail projects by handling all logistics, from registration to picking up the food and beverages that keep the volunteer crews going. She serves on Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers’ project selection committee, hangs posters in Basalt and Willits and mans trailhead tables to recruit volunteers. Recently she also received a Pitkin County Cares Award.
Carlsen was selected as ambassador of the year for 2011 and continues to be Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers’ most active ambassador.
Michael Pritchard, a volunteer from the mountain-bike community, was named crew leader of the year. Crew leaders direct and coordinate the activities of volunteers on projects. He began volunteering with Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers in the summer of 2001 and was volunteer of the month for September, with seven projects under his belt in 2013.
New this year was the Youth Group Partner Award, presented to Carbondale Middle School for its four-day project involving children attending summer school. All told, more than 100 children participated on trails along the Crystal River in Carbondale.
Also new this year was the Group Work Day Award, given to Skico. Group Work Days are organized by valley businesses and organizations as a way of giving their employees an opportunity to give back to the community. Skico held three Group Work Days in 2013.
Carl Moak, the owner of Summit Canyon Mountaineering, received the Project Partner of the Year Award for his consistent willingness to support Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers. He was a sponsor of the organization’s Climb for Trails event and garnered lots of raffle prizes to help make it a rewarding experience for the volunteers on the Scout and Forest Hollow Trail project.
The Pullman restaurant in Glenwood Springs was named food sponsor of the year. The Pullman donated a dinner that was served at a trailhead for 25 volunteers on one of the evenings of the Scout and Forest Hollow Trail project. Over the years, local restaurants have donated food for many of Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers’ end-of-the-day dinners that reward volunteers for their hard work on project days.
“Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers commends its entire community of volunteers, organizations, businesses and land managers who helped make 2013 such a successful season,” said executive director David Hamilton. “We’ve had 1,834 volunteers, including 1,101 youth working 101 project days this year, a dramatic increase over previous years. Compared to 2008, that amounts to a 330 percent increase in volunteers, a 1,643 percent increase in youth participation and a 481 percent increase in days in the field. Those hours do not include the volunteer hours put in by (Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers’) eight working committees and board of directors.”
“Two new programs launched — Group Work Days and the Young Stewards initiative — have resulted in hundreds more volunteers working on public lands in our community,” Hamilton added.
Since 1995, Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers has engaged more than 15,173 volunteers on 156 large-scale projects. In 18 years, the organization has built 34.25 miles of new trail, helped maintain another 300 miles, planted more than 11,750 trees and shrubs, and cleared dozens of acres of invasive species such as tamarisk. In total, the organization has completed projects worth several million dollars in value to trails, public lands and the community.
For more information, visit http://www.rfov.org or call 970-927-8241.