Trail Ambassador Kayla with the Eastern Sierra Conservation Corps Crew!

The dog days of summer are here, and wouldn’t you know it, our Trail Ambassadors have hit full gear!

We’ve hit the halfway mark of our summer season, and my goodness, things have flown by! From volunteer events and interpretive hikes to backcountry trail work and log-outs with Forest Service partners, our TAs have been busy. Here are just a few highlights of what they’ve been up to since our last edition of the Juniper:

  • Lily Emerson, our TA partnering with the Bridgeport Ranger District of the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, has been getting up to a variety of different projects. She has assisted Forest Service staff with opening up a closed section of trail by helping to cut up over 20 downed trees that were blocking it. She has also been hiking around the popular lakes and trails talking to folks about Leave No Trace and making sure folks are in the know about bear cans, permits, and the current fire restrictions. She has also been fighting back some overgrown brush that is trying to reclaim the main trail in Robinson Creek.
  • Tess Irving-Ruffing, our TA at the Mammoth Ranger District, says, “I’ve been hard-working on the trails mostly within the Lakes Basin area.” The busy season has given her numerous opportunities for visitor education on Leave No Trace principles and on other issues that impact her assigned area. She had a very successful first interpretive talk at Horseshoe Lake about local geology and volcanoes in the Mammoth area. She says, “I really enjoyed sharing with folks the history of this area. People seemed just as enthusiastic as I was to be learning more about the formation of the Sierra. This talk was a reminder to myself and the group that this area has existed for millions of years, undergoing vast explosions and stress. We can all find comfort and humility in the recognition of our own insignificance compared to the complexity of this land.” Tess finds that this knowledge keeps her passionate about working with Friends of the Inyo for local environmental conservation. Tess’ time in Mammoth this summer has been generously supported by the Town of Mammoth Lakes, Measure U Funding, and Mammoth Lakes Recreation.
  • From Lindsay Butcher, our lead TA and presence in the White Mountain Ranger District, we get this level of enthusiasm: “I’ve been impressed by the preparedness of the recreating public this summer compared to the ones past. It seems like people this year are better prepared, familiar with LNT, have permits, and actually care about the land they are recreating in. I’ve also been excited to get back to volunteer events and interpretive hikes to connect with our membership and the local community. That has been super enriching!”
  • Finally, from Kayla Browne, Mt. Whitney Ranger District TA, we hear this testimonial: “This past month, I’ve been teaming up with several different members of the Forest Service to buck trees, monitor trails, brush trails, conduct permit surveys, and educate visitors about Leave No Trace. I also had the opportunity to work with the Eastern Sierra Conservation Corps brushing in Horseshoe Meadow. July was my first Jeffrey Pine interpretive hike in Whitney Portal. Seven people came to enjoy the trail and learn all about the gentle Jeffrey.”

Woof, what a bunch of great workers those TAs are! We hope your summer is going as well as ours, and that you’re staying safe and recreating responsibly.