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Hike-NH.com - View topic - WMNF Volunteers needed: Trailhead Stewards; training May 21

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 WMNF Volunteers needed: Trailhead Stewards; training May 21 
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Mountain Maestro
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 WMNF Volunteers needed: Trailhead Stewards; training May 21
Have you been hiking for a few years and ready to share a little of what you've learned? The USFS/WMNF needs you in 2016. The Trailhead Steward program was extremely successful last year in reducing the number of SAR missions in the WMNF. I know I've complained about unprepared hikers for years, and we've bemoaned it in this group ad nauseum. I volunteered last year and it was very rewarding. You meet all kinds of people, but more importantly, you can guide hikers in having a great, safe day on the mountain. This year, I'm helping John Marunowski, the Backcountry/Wilderness Manager recruit more of us. The obligation is small, a minimum two, four-hour shifts over the summer and fall. There is a training session in May, I hope you can join us!


Description: The White Mountain National Forest (WMNF) is currently seeking applicants for the role of trailhead steward. The trailhead steward program is a new program designed to equip backcountry users, both dayhikers and backpackers, with information they need while traveling in the backcountry. The information is intended to help the user protect the fragile resources of the WMNF and keep themselves safe. They key to this program is these users will be equipped with this information BEFORE they hit the trail. This will be accomplished by hikers interacting with the trailhead steward in the parking lot.

For a Lot More Information:

or contact John directly.

or just reply to this email, I'm happy to field your questions about my experience.

Bill Tarkulich

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Fri Feb 12, 2016 2:45 pm
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 Re: WMNF Volunteers needed: Trailhead Stewards; training May


Fri Feb 12, 2016 3:39 pm
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 Re: WMNF Volunteers needed: Trailhead Stewards; training May
I have been a part of this program. All of your questions will be addressed at the training session.

However, in short: We are not the police, no, no, none, not at all, no, no, no, yes.

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Fri Feb 12, 2016 4:05 pm
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 Re: WMNF Volunteers needed: Trailhead Stewards; training May
Hi BrianL,

We can't make people do anything. But having an uniformed shirt does have some influence. For the seriously unprepared, the best you can do is give them an extra special hard time. Most of them are uneducated newbies, who are willing to listen to reasonable advice. I can tell you some good stories offline sometime. Having good people skills is what it's all about.

We don't "report" anyone. We have been very successful at getting people to change their plans once they realize what's ahead (can you say snow, or 70mph gusts?) As a last resort, if someone is going to go off and do something stupid, I will give them warning that SAR missions are expensive and you may be fined if you are found at fault. We are not obligated to do so.

Regarding the lack of 10 essentials. Simply put, few people have it all. I find myself assessing the risk and appropriately advising. Look, they are going to go anyways. Don't have a map? stay on the well-marked trail, and I know (because I count) that there are 200 people on the trail already. Don't have much water? Can I tell you where to get a refill? A hut up ahead? Hikers are a friendly lot. Some overhear the conversation and offer up one of their water bottles.

Leave No Trace and 10 essentials are the fundamentals.

We have never had anything "for sale". It gets political. We do give out some brochures, but the WMNF does not have a budget to provide these things. Getting the tent and table is a big enough deal. We post a map at our table and help people plan their trips.

NHF&G has been in touch with the USFS regarding number of missions being down, at least in the areas where we have been active. Certainly a SAR is an expensive endeavor and becomes more so. We don't operate in winter months, cover all the trails or activities such as hunting, snow machining, etc. In terms of specific numbers I've not seen them. But if we touched 10,000 people last year, we are providing education and awareness.

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Bill

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Fri Feb 12, 2016 4:21 pm
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 Re: WMNF Volunteers needed: Trailhead Stewards; training May
BrianL,
In terms of giving back, there are so many other options. Working in an information booth, helping out at a campsite. My preferred choice is to volunteer for a couple days on a trail crew. Last summer I spent two very rainy, muddy days working relocate a major trail at BaxterSP. The year before, I did trail more trail relo, including stumping on a mountain near Moosehead. A hiker may traverse rapidly over a 100 foot stretch, clueless of the countless stumps I pulled. I make it part of my vacation. I always feel so good about it. .

I figure as I age, when hiking becomes walking, I'll probably spend more time as a steward, or working in an information booth or something more to give back.

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Bill

"I have never been lost, but I will admit to being confused for several weeks." D. Boone


Fri Feb 12, 2016 4:30 pm
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 Re: WMNF Volunteers needed: Trailhead Stewards; training May


Fri Feb 12, 2016 4:43 pm
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 Re: WMNF Volunteers needed: Trailhead Stewards; training May
Hmm... This looks up my alley. I'm considering a career in the outdoors, possibly with the USFS/NPS, and this would look excellent on a resumé. I love the mountains, and I love to share my knowledge and stories with fellow hikers and outdoor lovers. If I can work out the transportation aspect of it (nearest trailhead to me is 79 miles away one-way), I'll definitely look into it!

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Fri Feb 12, 2016 7:06 pm
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 Re: WMNF Volunteers needed: Trailhead Stewards; training May


Fri Feb 12, 2016 8:56 pm
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Fri Feb 12, 2016 9:28 pm
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 Re: WMNF Volunteers needed: Trailhead Stewards; training May
You could crash in your car in those free sites off haystack road and the likes. You will just want a tent to throw up to stake your claim in between times you aren't there. At that point though. May as well stay in a tent.


Fri Feb 12, 2016 9:44 pm
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 Re: WMNF Volunteers needed: Trailhead Stewards; training May
Oh. Well good about the car. And good news is if you only have to do it twice that's less miles than a one way drive to Canada and should only cost about 7.00 round trip with the mileage your buggy gets and today's gas prices. If you want to watch you mileage you might want to give up on the 50 finest and 100 highest. THAT, is a crap ton of mileage! :D


Fri Feb 12, 2016 10:17 pm
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Fri Feb 12, 2016 10:27 pm
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 Re: WMNF Volunteers needed: Trailhead Stewards; training May
I signed up to do this last year but did not do my 2 shifts. After thinking about it, I thought it might not be for me and here's the reason. A couple of the people who'd done it the year before mentioned a few instants where someone they tried to enlighten about the dangerous conditions on a given day, or someone who just totally looked unprepared, got confrontational. I would not be able to hold back this, "look A-HOLE, we're just trying to prevent you from getting into trouble. So knock off the F-ing attitude!" And I'm serious when I say I'd probably react that way. So it's probably best I don't do this. :wink:

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Sat Feb 13, 2016 6:30 am
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 Re: WMNF Volunteers needed: Trailhead Stewards; training May


Sat Feb 13, 2016 8:34 am
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 Re: WMNF Volunteers needed: Trailhead Stewards; training May
I DID do this last year and did manage to fit a few stints into my busy schedule.

Joe and I talked both at the training session and after, and I completely understand his stand and concerns.

I did not have any problems whatsoever with hikers or attitudes. I do feel I made a difference and came away with a good feeling about the entire experience. I will do this again this summer. I have contributed and will continue to contribute in other ways in the whites - trail adoption and maintenance, contributions, clean up. The trailhead steward experiences and interactions were definitely rewarding - for me. It's not for everyone though. Just like Tecumseh, or "the" list, or ANY list, or the grid or the sale and purchase of the hike safe card are not for everyone. Off soapbox

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Sat Feb 13, 2016 11:27 am
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