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September 10, 2008
In Reply Refer To:
1115 (172) P
Information Bulletin No. 2008-114
To:                   All State Directors
                        Attn: Volunteer Coordinators, Recreation Planners
From:               Chief, Education, Interpretation, and Partnerships Division
Subject:           2009 American Hiking Society Volunteer Vacations – Catalog Deadline
                                                                                                                                   DD: 9/30/08
The American Hiking Society’s (AHS) Volunteer Vacation program recruits volunteers to build, maintain, and restore foot trails on public lands.  Each year the Society, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting and protecting foot trails and the hiking experience, publishes a catalog of volunteer opportunities.  The deadline for the 2009 catalog is September 30, 2008.  Last year, the catalog featured some 75 trail stewardship projects in 25 states that were sponsored by State and Federal agencies, including the National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, and BLM. AHS Volunteer Vacationers assisted BLM along the Delta National Wild and Scenic River (AK), in Paria Canyon (AZ), in the King Range National Conservation Area (CA), and in the San Juan Islands (WA) – to name just a few.
Volunteer Vacation projects are usually one week long, but may range from 4 to 10 days.  Trips are rated from easy to very strenuous to help volunteers choose the right one for their level.  In addition to a crew leader provided by AHS, crews consist of 6-15 volunteers who can range from college students to trail experts with 30 years of experience.
For a typical project, the BLM provides:
  • Planning and environmental analysis under the National Environmental Policy Act
  • A well-defined project lasting about a week (as well as a back-up project in case weather, fire, or other uncontrollable circumstances make the primary project impracticable), as well as project supplies and tools
  • Technical expertise on the project and one primary, easily accessible point of contact for the crew
  • Food (AHS can help with the cost) and group cooking supplies
  • Safety equipment, including two-way radios and first aid supplies
  • A volunteer agreement—either an individual agreement for each participant to sign or a group agreement for AHS or the crew leader to sign 
The American Hiking Society provides:
  • Volunteer recruitment and registration
  • Communication with the host agency and the crew before the project starts
  • A crew leader who serves as liaison between host agency and the crew, assists with logistics, and ensures that the crew carries out its responsibilities
  • Meal planning 
The volunteer provides: 
  • Camping gear
  • Transportation to a pre-arranged pick-up point, which is usually the nearest major airport 
Volunteer Vacations provide an opportunity for BLM offices to get assistance with on-the-ground trail work that needs to be done.  It is also an opportunity to introduce citizens to some of the many and varied hiking opportunities on BLM-managed lands.  BLM Field Offices that are interested in requesting crews for 2009 must submit their requests to AHS by September 30, 2008.  For more information and to request a crew, please see the Volunteer Vacation website at: http://www.americanhiking.org/VolVacHostCrew.aspx or contact Andrea Ketchmark, AHS Volunteer Programs Manager, at 301-565-6704, ext. 206.
Signed by:                                                                  Authenticated by:
Mary Tisdale                                                               Robert M. Williams
Division Chief                                                             Division of IRM Governance,WO-560
Education, Interpretation, and Partnerships

Last updated: 10-21-2009