Become a Trail Ambassador
Become a Trail Ambassador!
Winter has already begun and trail closures are in effect! We have already seen volunteer participation throughout the valley at multiple closed trail locations.
For volunteers who were not able to attend our December 6th training, we have made the training videos available to watch at your convenience. We recommend that you watch the videos prior to registering for a volunteer shift.
This winter, Molly will be spending upwards of 15 hours a week at different trailheads. Amanda, with the US Forest Service, will also be dedicating time each week up-valley for individuals who are not able to make it down to Eagle or Edwards. If you would like to volunteer with either Molly or Amanda, please check our events calendar to see their scheduled shifts.
Learn more about how you can help protect wildlife and our trails. We need your help to educate trail users on why these closures are so important and to inform them where they can recreate responsibly during the winter and spring season.
About the Trail Ambassador Program
In the Spring of 2018, the VVMTA and its Adopt A Trail program launched the 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 Trail Ambassador program was launched. The Ambassadors’ duties include:
- Support enforcement of 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 Leave No Trace Principles
The 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.
In 2024, the Trail Ambassador program will extend it’s impact and reach by continuing into the summer and fall. Trail Ambassadors during these seasons will go to busy trailheads and hike/bike on trails to spread trail etiquette knowledge and Leave No Trace Principles. Stay tuned for more information in the Spring of 2024.
The Impact of the Trail Ambassador Program
We have been collecting data with strategically placed game cameras on seasonally closed trails. The goal of these cameras are to:
- Violations: understand how many people are violating these closures, what type of user they are, and patterns of use
- Wildlife: capture photos of wildlife in the area during the closure season
The table below tells the story of how impactful this program has become over the years. In 2017, the program did not exist, community outreach did not occur, signage and gates were basically non-existent. This data only shows the North Trail but the same data and story exists at other closed trails including Son of Middle Creek, Everkrisp, and more.
The data draws the conclusion and connects the dots that:
- The more volunteer hours that occur along with education, outreach, and improved signage & gates >
- The less violations >
- = Potentially improving the health of wildlife populations