High Sierra Volunteer Trail Crew
The High Sierra Volunteer Trail Crew (HSVTC) has provided trail maintenance services for the U.S. Forest Service for over 15 years. As Forest Service resources have decreased, HSVTC has helped to keep the trails open. We cut trees off the trails, repair water bars, trail tread and perform other trail maintenance as required.
In addition to trail maintenance, we have also provided environmental clean-up services to the Forest Service. This includes environmental reclamation in areas where Federal Law enforcement has eradicated marijuana on public lands. We also cleaned up an abandoned mine, removed old structures and performed other services in support of the Forest Service mission.
HSVTC also has programs that involve youth, especially those who may never have been in the mountains. The youth groups often work along adults on various trail and other maintenance projects.
HSVTC is an IRS-approved Non Profit 501(c)(3) corporation.
Appropriate Ages for Volunteer Opportunity
Physical ability is more important than age. We have had volunteers from age 5 to 82 help with our programs.
Special Skills that May be Required or Helpful
We provide all of the necessary training, safety instructions and personal protective equipment appropriate for the assignment.
Types of Volunteer Work Needed
The trail maintenance work is primarily done in the Sierra and Sequoia National Forests. The United States Forest Service is our boss. We cut downed trees off from the trails, prune trees and shrubs from the side of trails, repair trail water bars and trail tread, and other trail maintenance tasks as necessary.
There are often a variety of skill sets that are needed for each trip which means that most anyone can help at some point on a project. Some tasks require greater physical ability than others, and we carefully match an individual's ability with project needs. Volunteers can serve for a single day or many days. Each project is scheduled in advance and people sign up to help. HSVTC provides all of the food (and cooks it too) so that there are no costs to the volunteer (except for their own transportation).
HSVTC maintains a schedule of activities for trail maintenance, environmental reclamation and youth programs. Individuals can sign up for any activity that interests them. A few activities require additional volunteer screening because of the nature of the activity, but those opportunities are clearly identified.
For those that like a more adventuresome opportunity, HSVTC has trail maintenance activities in the high country of the Sierra Nevada. The individual hikes in carrying their clothing and some personal items, while the food, tents, tools, etc. are transported in by stock (horses or mules). These trips generally last for a week and require a degree of physical ability beyond most of the trail maintenance activities.