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Thursday, November 7, 2013

Work in the wilderness - for free

 Volunteer Open House, Tonto National Forest 
Mesa Ranger District Office, Saturday, November 9
Phoenix (October 28, 2013) – The annual Volunteer Program Open House will be held on Saturday, Nov. 9 at the Mesa Ranger District office, 9 a.m. - 12 p.m. Tonto National Forest Volunteer opportunities for the Payson, central Phoenix, Mesa, Cave Creek, Globe, Young, and Tonto Basin areas will be displayed. 
 
“Whatever your interests or skills, we probably have an opportunity for you.  For example, if you would like to work in the Wilderness, you might serve as an information host at trailheads and help keep the trailhead in good condition.  At our lake recreation sites, you might weed and trim vegetation and help to maintain facilities, or you might repair or replace signs,” said Mesa District Ranger Gary Hanna.
 
The forest includes the Superstition, Four Peaks, Mazatzal and other Wilderness areas.  Popular recreation sites include Bulldog, The Rolls, Sycamore Creek, the Salt and Verde rivers, and Roosevelt, Canyon, Saguaro, and Bartlett lakes.
 
“Regularly scheduled long-term volunteers leading volunteer events, volunteers with trade skills such as welding or facilities maintenance, educators who can attend conservation education events, and administrative volunteers are in high demand by the forest,” observed Amy Racki, Tonto Partnership Coordinator. 
 
“Groups that want to adopt a specific area, such as a trailhead or recreation site, by providing monthly care and maintenance is an ideal scenario for us, with a handful of forest field staff to manage more than 3 million acres of land,” concluded Racki.
 
Volunteer opportunities are also available with the Arizona Trail Association, Usery Mountain Park, Lost Dutchman State Park, and other agencies and partners.  For off-highway enthusiasts, there are volunteer opportunities to help maintain off-highway vehicle (OHV) sites and educate forest visitors through Tonto Recreation Alliance (TRAL), one of the district’s partnership organizations. 
 
For more information about being an OHV Forest Service volunteer, go to www.tontorecreationalliance.org.  The Arizona Trail Association (www.aztrail.org) has trail maintenance opportunities on the Tonto National Forest that will be displayed at the open house.  
 
            The Mesa Ranger District office is located at 5140 E. Ingram Street, Mesa 85205. 

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