2013-07-21 10.36.53

A group from the American Hiking Society volunteered on the North Maroon Peak restoration project one week this summer. Each of the five participants came from a different state, none of which was around here. When I asked what brought them to the Maroon Bells for this trip they said it was because volunteering allowed them to feel a sense of ownership, have food provided, and have an experienced leader get them on their way.

Everyone travels and explores public lands for their own personal enjoyment. But going out to volunteer provides a sense of ownership because of the time and work they put in. Volunteers usually gain a fuller appreciation for how long it takes to do work on hiking trails.

A guided project allows volunteers to avoid worrying about making plans or providing for themselves. Once volunteers arrive at the trailhead, I take over the structure for the weekend. Providing food and coordinating the day allows the volunteers to go with the flow and enjoy the experience.

During the time spent on the mountain with groups like American Hiking Society, I received many questions about how to camp and hike around Colorado. The volunteers each wanted an adventure, but did not have friends with the right experience, nor the finances to afford hiring guides on every trip. I was able to inform them a lot about the proper ways to experience the Colorado backcountry.

The deal between CFI and the volunteers was to give them the benefits of our services in exchange for their labor. Get out and volunteer!

Peter Reber

I am originally from Rancho Mirage, California. I went to school at Ball State University and spent my summers hiking and doing trail maintenance in and around Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Upon graduation I started a thru-hike on the Appalachian Trail. After 500 miles I was recruited to be a Wilderness Ranger in Joyce Kilmer – Slickrock Wilderness, with a group called the Southern Appalachian Wilderness Stewards. I am looking forward to working at the Maroon Bells this summer.