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Grab Your Gear and Volunteer

My experience volunteering and giving back to nature after all its given to me.

By: Mayson + Save to a List

Spending time outdoors in the thick of nature's beauty is my favorite place to be. Whether I find myself surrounded by trees, an alpine lake, or desert sandstone walls stretching thousands of feet high, I love being outdoors. Mother nature consistently gives me far more than I pay back to her in return. When I am out hiking or adventuring I feel great joy, peace, and awe for the experiences I have, things I see, and places I visit. That being said, I recently had the opportunity to give back to nature for the first time in a long time and loved it.

A few weeks ago in honor of National Trail Day I had the opportunity to volunteer with a local organization called Friends of Nevada Wilderness. This is a nonprofit stewardship organization that protects over 3 million acres of Nevada wilderness and public lands. They do so by educating the public on wilderness areas, protecting these lands from ongoing and potential threats, and participating in efforts to improve these areas for the enjoyment of all. In this instance, I participated in an effort to provide trail maintenance to a wilderness trail which serves as a drainage ditch in the Mt. Charleston Wilderness Area near Las Vegas, NV.

During this trail maintenance project, I along with about 15 other volunteers and Friends of Nevada Wilderness staff, hiked approximately 1.5 miles of the Trail Canyon Trail in the Mt. Charleston Wilderness. There, we were hard at work building and repairing water bars along the trial. With shovels in hand, we hiked up the mountain and created these water bars in the trail to protect it from flash floods, winter snow melt, and more. These water bars serve to divert water draining downhill through the drainage ditch in order to get that water off the trail's path. We also cleared rocks and other loose debris from the trail brought down by previous water drainage and floods which pose potential hazards to hikers creating loose footing on the trail. 

My experience volunteering was phenomenal and somethings I enjoyed immensely. First off, we were outside breathing fresh mountain air and enjoying all nature has to offer. After all, we were surrounded by Aspen, Cedar, and Ponderosa Pine trees and were enthralled by gorgeous mountain peaks rising above us . Even better, I was surrounded by like minded people who have a passion for opting outside that parallels, and even exceeds, my own. We swapped tales of our adventures and travels laughing and sharing our appreciation of nature for hours. Last, but certainly not least, we were all giving back to the very thing which gives so much to us - mother nature and the outdoors. We were providing a volunteer service that enriches this beautiful place allowing myself, the other volunteers, and those who come after us to enjoy this wilderness in their own way. Volunteering was an incredibly fun and rewarding experience for those very reasons and more.

I would encourage anyone who truly loves to spend time outside, no matter how you do it, to seek opportunities to give back to nature. See if a local organization near you volunteers their time to nature's benefit. Whether you are a hiker, backpacker, climber, photographer, or just plain like to have fun outdoors- give back. Without efforts like this to maintain trails and access to nature we simply cannot access it and enjoy it. At least certainly without as much ease for all and access for all. Plus you never know who you might meet along the way. You could meet a new hiking partner or get introduced to new types of adventures in the outdoors someone else participates in. Regardless, most of all you will feel fulfilled giving back to mother nature, while being thankful to all she has given to you. So grab your gear and go volunteer. 

*All photos courtesy of Friends of Nevada Wilderness

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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