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Wildlife Trail Ambassadors

Wildlife Trail Ambassador Program

In the Spring of 2018, the VVMTA and its Adopt A Trail program launched the Wildlife Trail Ambassador program.  The VVMTA recognized the need to be the leaders in proactively approaching the education and communication surrounding seasonal trail closures to protect wildlife and our trails.  With this, the Wildlife Trail Ambassador program was launched.  The Ambassadors’ duties include:

  • Enforce seasonal trail closures by actively being positioned at trailheads
  • Education to trail users about the reasons for seasonal trail closures
  • Education to trail users about local flora and fauna
  • Education and communication spreading Leave No Trace Principles
  • Actively engage local businesses and hotels to help spread the word to our Valley’s visitors

The Wildlife Trail Ambassador program began to focus on spring seasonal wildlife closures to protect the mule deer and elk calving seasons.  Upon the great success in the Spring, the program expanded to cover our winter seasonal closures to ensure elk and deer were not disturbed in their important winter habitat.

The 2019 stats were remarkable and show a true need for this program:

  • 152 – Total hours of volunteer time
  • 88 – Total volunteers
  • 212 – People encountered at seasonally closed trails
  • 1,083 – Total people contacted
  • 8 – People seen on seasonally closed trails

Interested in getting involved?  Read about the Trail Ambassador Program _ 2018 _ 2019 Description and please contact Adopt A Trail Coordinator, Michelle, at adoptatrail@vvmta.org


SIGN UP FOR YOUR AMBASSADOR SHIFT HERE:

*Before signing up, you must have taken the Ambassador training.  Please contact Michelle at adoptatrail@vvmta.org for more info.

Acknowledgement and Assumption of Risks and Releases, Indemnity Agreement, & COVID-19 Agreement - VVMTA

Acknowledgment and Assumption of Risks and Release, Indemnity Agreement, & COVID-19 Agreement
For all adult or minor volunteers
All Volunteer Activities/Projects: January 1, 2020 – December 31, 2020

INTRODUCTION:
Please read this entire Acknowledgment and Assumption of Risks & Release, Indemnity Agreement, & COVID-19 Agreement (hereafter “Document”) carefully before signing. The volunteer (hereafter “volunteer”) must sign this Document. If volunteer is under 18 yrs. of age (hereafter sometimes “minor” or “child”) a parent or legal guardian (hereafter collectively “parent”) must also sign. In consideration of the services of Vail Valley Mountain Trails Alliance and its officers, directors, employees, agents, representatives and volunteers (hereafter individually and collectively “VVMTA”), the Hardscrabble Trails Coalition, the Bureau of Land Management, Town of Minturn, Town of Avon, Town of Vail, Eagle County, Community of EagleVail, Town of Gypsum, and USFS – White River NF, Eagle-Holy Cross Ranger District (hereafter “Project Partner”) in allowing volunteer to participate, I (volunteer and parent of a minor volunteer) acknowledge and agree as follows:

ACTIVITIES, RISKS AND ACKNOWLEDGMENT AND ASSUMPTION OF RISKS:
VVMTA service, educational, instructional, recreational and/or adventure activities that volunteer may participate in and/or assist with (whether simply attending, observing or actively participating) include risks. These activities may take place in various urban, frontcountry or backcountry locations on public or private land in Colorado and may include, but are not limited to: hiking; backpacking; camping; wading or swimming; rafting or other boating; service and work projects involving weed or plant removal, tree planting, erosion control, trail building or maintenance, historic structure preservation or other activities; sports and/or games; outdoor cooking or other chores; socializing; use of any equipment, facilities or premises and travel in vans, SUVs or other vehicles (collectively referred to in this Document as “activities”). Activities can be day or multi-day; scheduled or unscheduled; led by VVMTA paid staff or volunteer leaders (collectively “staff”), Project Partner staff, or contractors; supervised or unsupervised; and include activities undertaken during volunteer’s free and/or independent time. Volunteer (and the parent of a minor) acknowledges that the inherent and other risks, hazards and dangers (collectively referred to in this Document as “risks”) of these activities can cause injury, damage, death or other loss to volunteer or others. The parent of a minor gives permission for their child to participate in all activities and agrees to discuss the nature of these activities and risks with their child. The following describes some but not all of the risks:

Risks associated with any outdoor activity. These risks include that a volunteer may overestimate his/her abilities or fitness; be inattentive; lose control and trip or fall and/or collide with, for example, others, the ground, rocks or trees or encounter other animal/water/terrain/road/trail hazards; not understand the functioning of (or misuse) the equipment; fail to negotiate steep, uneven or difficult terrain; or experience equipment malfunction.

Work or service project risks. Participating in volunteer work or service projects can include risks associated with activities such as digging, lifting, repair, construction and clean-up, and use of tools and equipment that can cause injury resulting from use, misuse or malfunction.

Physical activity risks. Activities can involve outdoor physical activity requiring fitness and endurance, and including bending, lifting, pulling, pushing, and walking a short distance to multiple miles while carrying tools, food and other gear.

Outdoor environment risks. These risks include travel in high altitude, mountainous or wilderness terrain both on and off trail, and on land or water. Volunteer’s travel may be subject to: storms, including strong winds, rain, lightning, snow or hail; currents or whitewater; flashfloods; extremely hot, humid or cold weather or water; fast moving rivers or other water bodies; difficult stream crossings; falling or unstable rocks; falling or fallen timber; stinging, venomous or disease carrying animals, insects or microorganisms; poisonous plants; wild animals and other natural or man-made hazards. Hazards (both on land and above and below water level) may not be marked or visible and weather is unpredictable year-around.

Risks involved in judgment and decision making. VVMTA staff or others must make various judgments and decisions as they conduct activities in changing environments that are, by their nature, imprecise and subject to error. Consequently, there are risks involved in judgment and decision making, including the risk that VVMTA staff, the volunteer, a co-volunteer or other person may misjudge the volunteer’s (or others) capabilities, health or physical condition, or misjudge some aspect of instruction, work site safety, medical treatment, weather, terrain, water conditions or water level, or route location. Note: VVMTA uses volunteer leaders to assist with and lead activities. These individuals are not paid professional guides or leaders.

Personal health and participation risks. The risk that volunteer’s mental, physical or emotional condition (including use or abuse of prescription or non- prescription drugs), whether disclosed or undisclosed, known or unknown, combined with participation in these activities could result in injury, damage, death or other loss. VVMTA cannot anticipate or eliminate risks or complications posed by volunteer’s mental, physical (including fitness level) or emotional condition. VVMTA has identified “ratings” for many projects that contain general information on travel distances and other details, to assist volunteers in choosing projects. Volunteers (and parent/s of minors) assume full responsibility for selecting projects/programs based upon this or other information, and their own understanding of volunteer’s mental, physical and emotional condition. Note: I, in consultation with my/my child’s medical care provider, should consider carefully whether VVMTA activities are appropriate for me/my child before the start of the project. I further agree to bring (or send with my minor child) first aid supplies recommended by my/my child’s medical care provider for my/my child’s personal use, including those to counteract potential serious allergic reaction (for example, anaphylaxis resulting from allergy to bee stings).
Equipment risks. The risk that equipment used in an activity may be misused, or may break, fail or malfunction. This includes volunteer’s personal equipment, VVMTA equipment or any other equipment. Volunteer (and the parent of a minor) assume full responsibility for choosing appropriate personal gear and for its fit and condition. VVMTA or Project Partner may require or encourage safety gear for some activities and volunteers are responsible for keeping their safety gear on during these activities. Safety gear may prevent or lessen injuries in some instances; however, use of safety gear is not a guarantee of safety, and injury can occur even with the use of this gear.
Geographic location risks. VVMTA activities may take place in remote places, up to several hours from any medical facility, causing potential delays or difficulties with communication, transportation, evacuation and medical care. Although VVMTA staff or others may carry wireless communication devices while conducting activities, use of these communication devices in outdoor and/or wilderness terrain or in any location is unreliable and inconsistent.

Cooking and camping risks. Risks include gas explosion, scalding or other burns associated with tending, being near, or cooking over a gas stove or open fire, and water contamination in natural water sources. Camp sites may be subject to high winds, falling trees and/or branches, floods, wild animal invasion, and other weather-related hazards.

Risks regarding conduct. This includes the risk that volunteer or others, including third parties, may act carelessly or recklessly.

Risks associated with free time. Volunteers may have free and/or unsupervised time before, during and after the start of activities and at various other times. Unsupervised time may include free or independent time alone or with others. During all activities, all volunteers share in the responsibility for their own well-being and the well-being of the group.

Other risks that are generally associated with service, instructional, educational, recreational and/or adventure activities.

These and other risks may result in volunteers: falling partway or falling to the ground; being struck by lightning or objects; colliding with or impacting objects, people, animals or the bottom of a water body; experiencing vehicle or boat collision, capsize or rollover; getting caught or entangled in objects above or below water; reacting to high altitudes, weather conditions or increased exertion; becoming lost or disoriented; suffering gastro-intestinal complications or allergic reactions or experiencing other problems. These and other circumstances may cause heat or cold related illnesses or conditions (including hypothermia, hyperthermia, cold water immersion, frostbite or heat exhaustion/stroke), dehydration, drowning, high altitude sickness, heart or lung complications, broken bones, paralysis or other permanent disability, mental or emotional trauma, concussions, sunburn or other burns, infections, cuts or wounds or other injury, damage, death or loss.

I (volunteer and parent of a minor volunteer) agree:
• to review all VVMTA program information and materials, obey all rules and policies, and understand that I may contact VVMTA if I have additional questions about these activities or the associated risks;
• the information provided in this Document is not exhaustive, other unknown or unanticipated activities, risks and outcomes may exist, and VVMTA cannot assure volunteer’s safety or eliminate any of these risks;
• participant is fully capable of participating without causing harm to himself/herself or others;
• Volunteer is voluntarily participating in these activities with knowledge of the risks. Therefore, volunteer (and the parent of a minor) expressly assumes and accepts full responsibility for volunteer, for the inherent and other risks (both known and unknown, described above or otherwise) of these activities and for any injury, damage, death or other loss suffered by volunteer (and the parent of a minor), resulting from those risks, including the risk of volunteer’s own negligence or other misconduct.

RELEASE AND INDEMNITY AGREEMENT:
Please read carefully. This Release and Indemnity Agreement contains a surrender of certain legal rights. I (adult volunteer, or parent for myself and for and on behalf of my participating minor child) agree as follows:
1) to release and agree not to sue VVMTA, Project Partner and each of their respective officers, directors, employees, agents, representatives, volunteers (other than the volunteer signing below), independent contractors and all other persons or entities associated with either of them (hereafter collectively “the Released Parties”) with respect to any and all claims, liabilities, suits or expenses (including attorneys’ fees and costs) (hereafter collectively “claim” or “claim/s”), for any injury, damage, death or other loss in any way connected with my/my child’s enrollment or participation in these activities, including use of any equipment, facilities or premises. I understand I agree here to waive all claim/s I or my child may have against the Released Parties, and agree that neither I, my child, nor anyone acting on my or my child's behalf, will make a claim against the Released Parties as a result of any injury, damage, death or other loss suffered by me or my child;
2) to defend and indemnify (“indemnify” meaning protect by reimbursement or payment) the Released Parties, with respect to any and all claim/s brought by or on behalf of me, my child, my spouse, my other family member/s, or any other person, for any injury, damage, death or other loss in any way connected with my/my child’s enrollment or participation in these activities, including use of any equipment, facilities or premises.
This Release and Indemnity Agreement includes claim/s of or resulting from the Released Parties’ negligence (but not any of their gross negligence or willful or wanton misconduct), and includes claim/s for personal injury or wrongful death (including claim/s related to emergency, medical, drug and/or health issues, response, assessment or treatment), property damage, loss of consortium, breach of contract or any other claim.

COVID-19 AGREEMENT:
Please read carefully. I (adult volunteer, or parent for myself and for and on behalf of my participating minor child) agree as follows:

1. Follow all federal, state, and local public health orders as they apply. To read these orders please visit websites of: CDC, State of Colorado, Eagle County
2. Sharing and checking out of the WA vests has been discontinued.
a. If you already have one in your possession you are still welcome to use it, but those that do not are welcome to volunteer without it. Please wear your AAT hat, if you have one.
3. If you are showing signs of illness, you will be requested to leave the site
4. Please try to stay in your community and travel less than 10 miles
5. Maintain at least a six-foot distance from other individuals
a. If at any time you feel uncomfortable or that you cannot safely distance yourself from the public, you can discontinue your shift and return home.
6. Keep a reasonable and safe distance from other groups of no less than 20 feet
7. It is not recommended for high risk individuals and/or those with underlying health conditions to participate
8. If you feel sick or show any symptoms of COVID-19, you must stay home
9. Avoid touching your face, eyes, nose, and mouth
10. Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, bandana, or inner elbow
11. No handshakes or fist bumps
12. Wash hands with soap and water for at least twenty seconds as frequently as possible or use hand sanitizer
13. Hand washing is required before the beginning of a project, after using the bathroom, and at the conclusion of the project
14. Non-medical, cloth face-coverings for the nose and mouth are strongly recommended
15. All Ambassadors are required to listen into the online Ambassador COVID training session
a. Read and virtually Sign the COVID-19 Risk Analysis.
b. Read and virtually Sign COVID-19 Ambassador Field Protocols.
16. Bring your own food, water, and hand sanitizer
17. Do not carpool unless you are doing so with immediate member of your household
18. If you encounter other trail users, cover your face with your mask, and give at least 6’ of space for them to pass
19. Must be able to answer “no” to these questions to participate in a VVMTA volunteer activity (required):
a. Have you been in known contact with anyone who has contracted the virus within the last 14 days?
b. Have you been experiencing any of the symptoms associated with COVID-19?
c. Do you have a temperature over 100.4 today?
20. If I test positive for COVID-19 within 14 days of participating in a VVMTA volunteer activity, I will voluntarily report this to the VVMTA


OTHER PROVISIONS:
I (volunteer and parent of a minor volunteer) agree: Colorado substantive law (without regard to its “conflict of law” rules) governs this Document, any dispute I or my child have with VVMTA and all other aspects of my/my child’s relationship with VVMTA, contractual or otherwise, and agree that any mediation, suit, or other proceeding must be filed or entered into only in Eagle County, Colorado. I will attempt to settle any dispute (that cannot be settled by discussion) through mediation before a mutually acceptable Colorado mediator. I authorize VVMTA or Project Partner staff, representatives and/or other medical personnel to obtain or provide medical care for me/my child, to transport me/my child to a medical facility and to provide treatment they consider necessary for my/my child's health; I agree to pay all associated costs. VVMTA reserves the right to dismiss any volunteer from a VVMTA program/project who staff believe, in their discretion, presents a safety concern or medical risk, is disruptive, or otherwise conducts him or herself in a manner detrimental to the program. If volunteer is dismissed or departs for any reason, volunteer (and his/her parent) are responsible for all costs of early departure, including evacuation, medical treatment or other costs. I authorize VVMTA, Project Partner or parties they authorize, to take images, written or spoken statements or any recordings, of or including the volunteer and/or parent, without compensation, and use these materials, including for broadcast or sale, on the internet or via other media, in catalogues or other materials, or for any promotional, educational or other use. These materials are the sole property of VVMTA or Project Partner. This Document is intended to be interpreted and enforced to the fullest extent allowed by law. Any portion of this Document deemed unlawful or unenforceable shall not affect the remaining provisions, and those remaining provisions shall continue in full force and effect.

Volunteer and parent of a minor volunteer agree: I have carefully read, understand and voluntarily sign this Document, and acknowledge that it shall be effective and legally binding upon me, my spouse, participating child and other children, and volunteer’s/parent’s other family members, heirs, executors, representatives, subrogors and estate. Volunteer must sign below. A parent must also sign if volunteer is a minor (those under 18 yrs. of age).
I understand that my signature is valid and legally binding whether I choose to electronically sign, or sign a printable version of this Document.

Acknowledge Participation in the Development of this Job Hazard Analysis - USDA Forest Service Rocky Mountain Region

1. Work Project/Activity: Adopt A Trail Program
2. Location: Minturn, CO
3. Unit: Eagle/Holy Cross Ranger District

JHA Instructions (References FSH 6709.11 and .12)

The JHA shall identify the location of the work project or activity, the name of the employee(s) in the process, the date(s) of acknowledgement, and the name of the appropriate official approving the JHA. The official acknowledges that employees have read and understand the contents, have received the required training, and are qualified to perform the work project or activity.
Blocks 1-6: Self-explanatory.
Block 7: Identify all tasks and procedures associated with the work project or activity that have potential to cause injury or illness to personnel and damage to property or material. Include emergency evacuation plans and procedures (EEP).
Block 8: Identify all known or suspected hazards associated with each respective task/procedure listed in block 7. For example:
a. Research past accidents/incidents.
b. Research the Health and Safety Code, FSH 6709.11, or other applicable references.
c. Discuss the work project/activity with participants and subject matter experts.
d. Observe the work project/activity.
Block 9: The values for the initial risk level based on severity and probability of hazards.
Block 10: Identify appropriate actions to reduce or eliminate the hazards identified in block 8. Abatement measures listed below are in the order of preferred abatement method:
a. Engineering Controls (the most desirable method of abatement). Designed to control the hazard at its source. The basic concept behind engineering controls is that, to the extent feasible, the work environment and the job itself should be designed to eliminate hazards or reduce exposure to hazards. For example:
• If feasible, design the facility, equipment, or process to remove the hazard or substitute something that is not hazardous.
• If removal is not feasible, enclose the hazard to prevent exposure in normal operations.
• Where complete enclosure is not feasible, establish barriers or local ventilation to reduce exposure to the hazard in normal operations.
b. Administrative Controls. These types of controls are normally used in conjunction with other controls that more directly prevent or control exposure to the hazard. These measures include additional relief workers, exercise breaks and rotation of workers.
c. Safe Work Practices. Safe work practices include general workplace rules and other operation-specific rules. For example, even when a hazard is enclosed, exposure can occur when maintenance is necessary. Through established safe work practices, employee exposure to hazards can be further reduced.
d. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). When exposure to hazards cannot be engineered completely out of normal operations or maintenance work, and when safe work practices and other forms of administrative controls cannot provide sufficient additional protection, a supplementary method of control is the use of protective clothing or equipment.
Block 11: The residual risk values for severity, probability and the overall Risk Assessment Code (RAC) after controls have been implemented.
Block 12: The JHA must be reviewed and approved by the appropriate authority.
Blocks 13-14: Self-explanatory.

Emergency Evacuation Instructions (References FSH 6709.11)
Work supervisors and crew members are responsible for developing and discussing field emergency evacuation procedures (EEP) and alternatives in the event a person(s) becomes seriously ill or injured at the worksite.
Be prepared to provide the following information:
a. Nature of the accident or injury (avoid using victim’s name).
b. Type of assistance needed, if any (ground, air, or water evacuation).
c. Location of accident or injury, best access route into the worksite (road name/number), identifiable ground/air landmarks.
d. Radio frequencies.
e. Contact person.
f. Local hazards to ground vehicles or aviation.
g. Weather conditions (wind speed and direction, visibility, temperature).
h. Topography.
i. Number of individuals to be transported.
j. Estimated weight of individuals for air/water evacuation.
The items listed above serve only as guidelines for the development of emergency evacuation procedures.
Emergency Evacuation Procedures Acknowledgment

We, the undersigned work leader(s) and crew member(s), acknowledge participation in the development of this JHA (as applicable) and accompanying emergency evacuation procedures. We have thoroughly discussed and understand the provisions of each of these documents.

Acknowledge Risk Assessment of Field Work Under COVID-19 Precautions - USDA Forest Service Rocky Mountain Region

Risk Assessment: Field Work Under COVID-19 Precautions

Task: Field Contacts
Hazard: COVID-19 exposure through personal field contacts
Hazard Probability: Likely
Severity/Consequence: Critical
Risk Assessment Code (RAC): Serious
Mitigation/Abatement Measures: Work Practice: Practice social distancing of 6' or more. Work outside to dilute concentration of virus and expose virus to sunlight. Don't shake hands, don't handle money or documents. Use Iron Rangers.
Hazard Probability: Occasional
Severity/Consequence: Critical
RAC: Moderate
Hazard Control Assigned To: Every person on project

Task: Cleaning and Sanitizing Surfaces and Objects
Hazard: COVID-19 exposure through cleaning surfaces and objects
Hazard Probability: Occasional
Severity/Consequence: Critical
Risk Assessment Code (RAC): Moderate
Mitigation/Abatement Measures: Use engineered virucides to clean surfaces that you and other personnel touch.Examples include radios, vehicle interiors, keyboards, tables etc. Follow CDC guidance at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019- ncov/community/organizations/cleaning-disinfection.html. Review County Health Dept. Guidance at the start of your weekly shift. Work practices include cleaning hands often, including immediately after removing gloves and after contact with an ill person, by washing hands with soap and water for 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available and hands are not visibly dirty, an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains 60%-95% alcohol may be used. However, if hands are visibly dirty, wash hands with soap and water.PPE includes nitrile gloves, safety glasses
Hazard Probability: Rarely
Severity/Consequence: Critical
RAC: Minor
Hazard Control Assigned To: Every person on project

Task: Daily Operations and Industrial and Personal Hygiene
Hazard: COVID-19 exposure through unknown sources
Hazard Probability: Occasional
Severity/Consequence: Critical
Risk Assessment Code (RAC): Moderate
Mitigation/Abatement Measures: Additional work practices include preventive actions while at work and home, including cleaning hands and avoiding touching eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.◦Additional key times to clean hands include:
◾After blowing one’s nose, coughing, or sneezing
◾After using the restroom
◾Before eating or preparing food
◾After contact with animals or pets
Hazard Probability: Rarely
Severity/Consequence: Critical
RAC: Minor
Hazard Control Assigned To: Every person on project

Task: Personal Hygiene
Hazard: COVID-19 or unknown viral exposure to others
Hazard Probability: Likely
Severity/Consequence: Critical
Risk Assessment Code (RAC): Serious
Mitigation/Abatement Measures: Stay home if you begin to feel sick. Notify your supervisor.
Hazard Probability: Rarely
Severity/Consequence: Critical
RAC: Minor
Hazard Control Assigned To: Every person on project

I have carefully read, understand and voluntarily sign this Document, and acknowledge that it shall be effective and legally binding upon me, my spouse, participating child and other children, and volunteer’s/parent’s other family members, heirs, executors, representatives, subrogors and estate. Volunteer must sign below. A parent must also sign if volunteer is a minor (those under 18 yrs. of age).

Volunteer Service Agreement Natural & Cultural Resources - USDA Forest Service Rocky Mountain Region

Project Title: Eagle County Adopt A Trail Program
Group Name: Vail Valley Mountain Trails Alliance
Agency: Forest Service
Group Contact: Ernest Saeger. ernest@vvmta.org
Agency Contact: Katherine Bazan. katerine.bazan@usda.gov

All volunteers that participate with an organized group on an episodic volunteer project on a unit of a public lands agency must be signed up on this form. By signing this form you agree to the terms of the project as defined in the Volunteer Service Agreement and affirmed by the organization and federal agency represents.

Volunteers under age 18 must complete a Volunteer Service Agreement—Natural & Cultural Resources and must be signed by the parent or guardian. By signing this Agreement you are allowing the Agency to use your photographic, video or audio images in performance of volunteer duties.

SUBMIT CLOSED TRAIL LOG HERE:

*Please enter password below to access the Closed Trail Log