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Volunteer Work Week

Want to spend a week camping in a beautiful place doing important work with fun people? Every year, Friends of the Inyo partners with the Sierra National Forest or the Inyo National Forest to take volunteers into the wilderness to maintain trails and restore campsites and lakes shores. In 2021, join us on the Eagle Creek Wilderness Project June 21-23, and the Cottonwood Creek Wilderness Project in September.

Wilderness projects take place in scenic, remote locations throughout the high country. In past years we’ve traveled to Fourth Recess Lake, Humphreys Basin, and Shadow Creek.


Impacts to trail deep in wilderness areas present a challenge to rangers. Agency budgets fluctuate while the consistently growing demand recreation can leave  trashed camp sites, and illegal fire rings, and trails in need of maintenance.

Our Work

Each year FOI funds a forest service wilderness ranger who helps take care of these majestic landscapes. Volunteers and our Trail Ambassador crew meet this ranger in the backcountry and work to maintain trails, restore campsites, and clean lakes shores. 

The National Forests provides pack stock for support. Volunteers come from all walks of life. We’ve had long-time Eastern Sierra residents working alongside visitors from Southern California or the Bay area.

Each wilderness work week finds a new location to help in the scenic and beautiful wilderness. At the end of work days there is plenty of time to enjoy photography and scrambling to hidden alpine lakes or local peaks. 

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What’s a day like on the Volunteer work week?

A day of stewardship in the high country usually begins with stretching, and then a hike to the work site. Possible projects include running the crosscut saw to remove trees across the trail, joining the crew in technical rock or trail work, or rehabbing campsites that are impacting habitat or water quality.

We find time to have fun too. Bring your camera, fishing pole, guitar or climbing shoes. There’s plenty of time to unwind and enjoy the Sierra high country. Want to join our next volunteer workweek? Please contact for more information.

Join or Support the Volunteer Work Week


Provide a special donation for a volunteer to attend the workweek

Learn More

Contact our Stewardship director to join the Work Week 


Stewardship Round-Up: July 2022

Read some exciting progress notes from our Trail Ambassadors, with an introduction and post-note from Stewardship Director Alex Ertaud. “We’re thick into the Dog Days of summer, hitting the midway point of our season, and the Trail Ambassadors (TAs) just keep on rolling! Alongside our Forest Service partners, our TAs have been up to some amazing work. But don’t take my word for it: Let’s hear it from the TAs themselves! Here are some highlights from their last month of work in north-to-south order depending on the Ranger District to which each of them is assigned.” From Bradley Olson, TA…

Volunteering, Hiking, Learning: Summer Is Always Better with Friends…of the Inyo!

Friends of the Inyo’s Summer Stewardship Program is Off to a “HOT” Start! By Alex Ertaud, Stewardship Director (Middle-Right in photo) As the days grow longer and the last remaining bits of snow melt away, it can only mean one thing: Friends of the Inyo’s Summer Stewardship Season is upon us!  Our Stewardship Team spent the month of May getting ready for the exciting summer season we have ahead of us. We’re thrilled to announce that we are able to staff each Ranger District of the National Forests of the Eastern Sierra with a dedicated Trail Ambassador (TA) this year….

‘Magnificent Seven’ Gave Back Big Time During Volunteer Backcountry Stewardship Week (Aug. 6-9) at Cottonwood Creek

By Lindsay Butcher, Lead Trail Ambassador Flowing southeast from White Mountain Peak, Cottonwood Creek is fed by numerous springs that pop up all the way into the Great Basin Desert. In 2009, as part of the Omnibus Public Lands Management Act signed by President Barack Obama, Cottonwood Creek was designated as a protected Wild and Scenic River (WSR). Today, the creek’s comprehensive management plan is still under development; however, its WSR designation meant no more cattle grazing in the area. From August 6 through 9, Friends of the Inyo set out with a hard-working group of volunteers and Inyo National Forest…

June Stewardship Roundup

As the calendar page flips to July, we’ve completed our first official month of Trail Ambassador work in the Inyo & Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forests! Our Trail Ambassadors (TAs) hit the ground running this year and have been out and about working hard. Here are just a few highlights of what they’ve been up to: Lily Emerson, our TA partnering with the Bridgeport Ranger District of the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, took two volunteers out to Eagle Creek in the Hoover Wilderness to monitor for invasive weeds in the area. Over their three-day/two-night trip, they found no weeds above 8,300 feet in…

Trail Ambassador Program Receives National Forest Foundation Grant

Trail Ambassador Program Receives National Forest Foundation Grant In March, as spring arrived and the Worm full moon hung large in the sky, Friends of the Inyo received the exciting news that our National Forest Foundation (NFF) grant application to help fund our Trail Ambassador program was successful!    This $47,000 grant is a huge boon to our ability to staff the Inyo, Humboldt-Toiyabe, and Sierra National Forest lands in the Eastern Sierra with five Trail Ambassadors this season. In addition to myself and Lindsay Butcher, we are going to be able to hire three additional staff members to provide…

Friends of the Inyo’s 2020 Backcountry Ranger Intern for the US Forest Service

Friends of the Inyo’s 2020 Backcountry Ranger Intern for the US Forest Service Each year Friends of the Inyo funds an intern for the Sierra National Forest with a generous donation from Rick Kattelmann and Sally Gaines. We are proud of the work and perspectives gained by David Carpenter in 2020 through his participation in the program. Read more about David and his experience with the Sierra National Forest below: Reflections on 2 Months in the High Sierra I always was a man of the wilderness. I was born in Denver, Colorado, and grew up not far away in Golden,…