The Canyon Lakes Ranger District is seeking volunteers to ski or snowshoe this winter in the busy Cameron Pass area, where 32 miles of trail can see over 300 visitors a day on a winter weekend. Last year 93 amazing volunteers contributed 3,000 hours to this fun winter volunteer opportunity.
Volunteers ski or snowshoe “with a purpose,” helping the Forest Service educate winter visitors and provide winter use statistics. To volunteer, participants take part in a minimum of four days patrolling and attend Forest Service-provided training. The kick-off meeting is Nov. 16 at 6:30 p.m. at 2150 Centre Ave., Building E, in Fort Collins. The required classroom training is Dec. 1, 6-9 p.m. and the required field training is Dec. 3 from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Volunteers can sign up for the two required trainings at the kick off. For more information or to RSVP, call Kristy Wumkes at 970-295-6721 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Along with a general introduction to the program, the kick-off also introduces potential new members to many of our partner-organizations, such as Jax Outdoor Gear and Colorado Parks and Wildlife, and to some of the returning Nordic rangers.
The Cameron Pass Nordic Ranger program began in 1992. Volunteers provide safety, trail, and low-impact backcountry use information to winter enthusiasts; help maintain trails and trailheads; and gather visitor use information to aid in Forest Service planning. Some of the Nordic rangers work as a winter trail crew to help keep the trails cleared of downed trees and limbs, install signs, and shovel paths to the restrooms.
Many of the trails are in the Rawah and Neota Wilderness areas, where routes can be challenging. Backcountry skiing also includes risks inherent with winter conditions, including extreme cold. These are some key reasons why our volunteers are so valuable, especially to those with little winter sports experience.