Volunteering with the Forest Service

Published: Apr 3, 2017

Story and photos by Mark Glowacky, Volunteer and Member of the Stewardship Network: New England.

Two summers ago, I volunteered both as a Trailhead Steward and a Backcountry Wilderness Monitor for the White Mountain National Forest. Volunteering with the Forest Service gave me a greater appreciation for New Hampshire's natural environment and how we use it. Trailhead stewards staff major trailheads and educate visitors on Leave No Trace ethics and safe hiking. Leave No Trace focuses on minimizing your impact on the environment while recreating to protect the land for future generations. Volunteers also educate visitors on safe hiking in order to prevent accidents requiring a search and rescue effort.

I worked at the Falling Waters trailhead at the base of Mount Lincoln and Lafayette right off Route 93. It's one of the most popular trails and regularly sees upwards of 500 hikers entering the woods before noon. My favorite photo, below, is from when hikers arrived with their pet duck, which they hiked with to the summit!

hikers with a duck

The skills and knowledge I gained while volunteering for the Forest Service followed me to Glacier National Park, where I worked last summer. In the future, I hope to have a career focused on visitors and resource protection.

I still enjoy volunteering with the White Mountain National Forest and plan to volunteer this fall after I return from another season at Glacier. They have been expanding opportunities every year for people to help out and give back the places they love. Last month, volunteers visited NH Fish and Game in Concord to review search and rescue reports for the past few years. This data collection has allowed the trailhead steward program to see how effective it is. Every search and rescue prevented saves the taxpayers hundreds, sometimes thousands of dollars.

White Mountain National Forest Trailhead Steward Program Training

Sponsoring Organization: White Mountain National Forest

Event Details: Saturday, April 8, 2017, 8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. at the White Mountain National Forest Headquarters in Campton, NH.

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