Wilderness Connect, housed on the University of Montana campus, acknowledges that we are on the traditional lands of the Salish and Kalispel peoples, who have stewarded this land throughout many generations and are its past, present, and future caretakers.
Volunteers & Partners
This toolbox represents a resource for information, contacts, and ideas to help wilderness managers get started or improve on citizen stewardship programs. It includes the topics of volunteers, partnerships, friends groups, and non-typical funding opportunities and provides examples and sources for more information. The toolbox features a paper found to be useful for both managers and partners: Components of and Barriers to Building Successful Wilderness Citizen Stewardship Programs. Contact us to suggest new materials for inclusion.
The use of 'volunteers' has long been a part of manager's efforts to be effective stewards of wilderness. Projects such as trail maintenance, campsite clean-up, restoration, and visitor contact have been successfully accomplished at minimal cost in many locations and much has been learned about how to work with volunteers and how to implement partnerships. More recently partnerships have been developed to provide additional resources in support of wilderness stewardship. Today, managers have an increasing need to utilize partners, volunteers, and alternative funding opportunities to both accomplish work and also to help build an awareness of the wilderness resource and its benefits. As more people become involved in helping to steward wilderness understanding appreciation and support for wilderness grows. The resources of 'volunteers' and 'partnerships' have become known as 'Citizen Stewardship Programs'.
Volunteers and partners interested in wilderness can make enormous personal, professional, and sometimes financial resources available to the wilderness manager. The typical 'volunteer in wilderness' concept is evolving and many managers are utilizing people more as trained citizen stewards capable of taking on and successfully accomplishing more technical and challenging tasks. In addition to the traditional projects, volunteers are increasingly being used to help inform and educate other visitors and to monitor visitors use, campsites, trails, non-native invasive species, wildlife, water and other wilderness values can be accomplished. Often skills and interests that a volunteer has used in their own careers or other pursuits can be applied to needed wilderness management projects.
It should be recognized that volunteers and other partners are not 'free'. Wilderness managers devote many hours of time and some funding into recruitment, project planning, training and supervision, tools, and supplies, and preparation of agreements to support a successful citizen stewardship program. This is time and funding that is increasingly limited but also necessary for wilderness management and implementation in the Forest Service of the Chief's 10-Year Wilderness Stewardship Challenge. Often the recognition of the need for spending time and funding on establishment and maintenance of volunteer programs and partnerships pays off in many ways and for many years.
This toolbox represents an online resource for information, contacts, and ideas to help wilderness managers get started or improve on citizen stewardship programs. It includes the topics of volunteers, partnerships, friends groups, and non-typical funding opportunities. Forest Service information on use of volunteers, partnerships, and agreements on the national forests, including agreement templates, guidelines, policies, volunteer organization contacts, and references, can be found on the Partnership Resource Center website. Additional resources can be found in agency manuals and handbooks (FSM 1830 Volunteers, and FSH 1509.11 Grants and Agreements Handbook). Also, check the Missoula Technology Development Center website for a Volunteer Coordinator Handbook emphasizing safety due out in the summer of 2005. Forest and regional volunteer coordinators and staff responsible for grants, agreements, challenge cost share programs, etc. should also be contacted for the latest guidelines and formats.
Examples and Contacts
This list contains contacts for examples of successful citizen stewardship programs. The information may be useful for those seeking volunteer help for small projects as well as those seeking to start or improve a long term citizen stewardship program for your wilderness.
Citizen Stewardship Programs
- Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness
- Colorado Fourteeners Initiative
- Colorado Mountain Club
- Forest Service Volunteer Association
- High Sierra Volunteer Trail Crew
- Indian Peaks Wilderness Alliance
- Poudre Wilderness Volunteers
Forest contact: Kevin Cannon, Arapaho-Roosevelt NF
- Rocky Mountain Field Institute
- San Gorgonio Wilderness Association
- Selway Bitterroot Wilderness Foundation
- Stanislaus Wilderness Volunteers
Forest contact: Bob Wetzell, Stanislaus NF
- University of Montana -- Citizen Science Program
- Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado
- American Hiking Society -- Volunteer Vacations
- Backcountry Horsemen of America
- Conservation Corps (such as Montana Conservation Corps, Arizona Conservation Corps etc.)
- Equestrian Land Conservation Resource -- National Stewardship Award Grants
- National Forest Foundation -- Conservation Awards and Partnership Guide
- National Smoke Jumpers Association
- Sierra Club
- Student Conservation Association
- Wilderness Volunteers
Agency and NGO Links
These links are provided to assist managers and organizations in finding information, guidelines, and funding sources for volunteer work and other partnerships. The information may be useful for those seeking volunteer help for small projects as well as those seeking to start or improve a long term citizen stewardship program for your wilderness.
Some of the links will open a general partnership or volunteer resource. Follow additional links from the home page to access wilderness specific resources.
Forest Service information on use of volunteers, partnerships, and agreements on the national forests, including agreement templates, guidelines, policies, volunteer organization contacts, and references, can be found on the Partnership Resource Center website.
Additional resources can be found in agency manuals and handbooks (FSM 1830 Volunteers, and FSH 1509.11 Grants and Agreements Handbook).
Forest and regional volunteer coordinators and staff responsible for grants, agreements, challenge cost share programs, etc. should also be contacted for the latest guidelines and formats.
Volunteer Recruitment and Training
Regional Volunteer Workshops
- Application (Mt. Adams)
- Duties-Wilderness Stewards (Mt. Adams)
- General Info for Wilderness Stewards
- Position description
- Radio Operating Procedures (Mt. Adams)
- Training Agenda
Poudre Wilderness Volunteers
- Business cards
- Contributor form
- New Volunteers Form
- Recruit meeting letter
- Report form
- Returning Volunteers Form
- Volunteers Welcome
- Tool check-out form
Volunteer Safety and Law Enforcement
It is imperative that adequate hazard recognition and safety analysis be incorporated into any project of program that utilizes volunteers or partners operating under an agreement. The required training and personal protective equipment must either be provided or required of the participants and some supervision and follow-up may be necessary to monitor the safe use of tools and travel methods.
The Job Hazard Analysis (JHA) process is used to identify hazards, training and equipment needs and document safe working procedures.
- Job Hazard Analysis (general volunteer field work)
- Job Hazard Analysis (volunteer field work, desert)
- Job Hazard Analysis (volunteer wilderness steward patrols)