Last week we officially launched my social trail monitoring pilot program! During the day I was too busy to be nervous. I had incorrectly assumed that the Volunteer Management Office would have extra radios and first aid kits, so I spent the day tracking those down. This unfortunate situation led me to an odd but amazing spot in the park – the visitor center basement. As I sat on the dusty cement floors putting together makeshift first aid kits, I spied a huge, beautiful mural leaning against the wall, a box labeled “misc bones,” and an ancient-looking baby doll dangling off a top shelf. After I finished my unanticipated scavenger hunt, I had just enough time to fly back to the office and print out the necessary materials for the training session before heading to the trailhead.
I give credit to my supervisor and myself but also to the volunteers for how smoothly the training went. I had the good fortune of recruiting an experienced and enthusiastic team. All of them have volunteered with the park before in some way and the majority of them are regular volunteers. As the session ended, I was a little sad that it would probably be the first and last time all of us would be together in person. So when my supervisor suggested an enrichment trip, I jumped on the opportunity. I am now planning a group excursion to an off-trail waterfall. We will be collecting data along the way, but we will also be enjoying the view and each others’ company.