Giving To Myself and Nature
“One of my favorite parts of serving on the Trail Patrol is a bit selfish. I sometimes need motivation to make time for a good hike, so I look forward to my 3-hours-a-month on the Elfin Forest Trail,” says Cindy Pahl, one of our newest volunteers. Trail Patrol volunteers sign up for monthly hikes at the Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve (EFRR) and The Escondido Creek Conservancy’s (Conservancy) neighboring preserves to help maintain trails and protect the natural open spaces we love. “At the same time, I love my role as an ‘ambassador’ for Elfin Forest, which feels less selfish and more giving,” Pahl continued. Volunteers get to explore the beautiful, serene trails while assisting visitors and submitting reports to our land managers.
“When a trail issue is reported by a trail patrol volunteer, rangers quickly respond with action. As a result of the EFRR trail patrol program, trail maintenance concerns are identified and addressed quickly. This results in greater trail sustainability and a safer recreation experience for our visitors,” says EFRR Park Supervisor, Jeff Anderson. EFRR provides outdoor recreation area for 150,000 visitors a year. Its 11 miles of multi-use trails equates to approximately half a million trail miles traveled annually. EFRR park rangers heavily rely on trail patrol volunteers to be the eyes and ears for the Reserve and report their observations while on patrol.
The Conservancy manages about 2,500 acres of land in the Escondido Creek watershed. Volunteers are needed in order to keep these areas free from trash, graffiti, and invasive pests. “Our volunteers help us track where invasive plant infestations need to be addressed, whether preserves are receiving inappropriate human use like fishing, pointing out trails that need repair, and making note of rare or amazing wildlife phenomena!,” says Conservation Land Manager, Hannah Walchak.
Whether you’re patrolling on foot, mountain bike, or horseback, there is a place on the team for you. Plus, there are many trail options for various mobility levels. And you don’t need to be a wildlife expert to join! We’ll tell you everything you need to know and provide you with your own uniform you can wear as you’re out exploring the trails. Our next training is Saturday, January 19th from 9:00am – 12:00pm.