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.
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.
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 Alex@friendsoftheinyo.org for more information.
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…
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 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 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,…
The last two times I volunteered for Friends of the Inyo on backcountry stewardship projects, I unearthed a strong sense of purpose and a deep connection with nature. This time, however, I felt myself making a connection with a rich past….
I’m back to the comfort of home, and for better or worse, it is home. I know where everything goes as I unpack: a tent, a rainfly, a ground cloth, a sleeping bag, and two mattresses I carry just in case one pops. A tiny stove. Camp clothes. I unpack feeling sadness–the wilderness trip I’d looked forward to so much is over. I come from the “lowlands,” according to John Muir, and hence the question: how do I find myself on a wilderness project….