Wildlife Trail Ambassadors

Become a Wildlife Trail Ambassador

Become a Wildlife Trail Ambassador!  We held our Spring Training on April 13th but you can join as a volunteer at any time.  It only takes three easy steps:

  1. Watch the training video below
  2. Contact Erinn, Progams Director, at erinn@vvmta.org
  3. Sign up for your Wildlife Trail Ambassador shift!

Learn more about how you can help protect wildlife and our trails.  Many Seasonal Wildlife Closures are in place and will be going into effect from April 15th – June 20th and July 1st.  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 spring season.

About the 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.

Seasonal Wildlife Closures – The Why

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There’s a Lot to Say About Recreation and Wildlife in Vail. Mountain Bike Advocates are Caught in the Middle

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Vail Valley wildlife trail ambassador volunteers needed

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The Impact of the Wildlife Trail Ambassador Program

The 2020/2021 stats show a true need for this program:

  • 387 – Total hours of volunteer time (152 in 2019)
  • 327 – Total volunteer Shifts 
  • 59 – People encountered at seasonally closed trails (212 in 2019)
  • 286 – Total people contacted (1,083 in 2019)
  • 38 – Individual Volunteers

Interested in getting involved?  Read the Wildlife Trail Ambassador 2019/2020 Season Review and please contact Erinn, at erinn@vvmta.org

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
Trail Year Volunteer Shifts Volunteer Hours Violations
North Trail 2017 0 0 212
North Trail 2019 78 138 148
North Trail 2021 327 387 41

WILDLIFE TRAIL AMBASSADOR REGISTRATION

*Before signing up, you must have taken the Ambassador training.  Please contact Erinn at erinn@vvmta.org for more info and watch our training videos on our Youtube channel here.

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