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Reflections from a Forest Ambassador



Picture this, it’s a crisp morning in June, you just parked at the Thomas Creek trailhead, and your pack is supplied with a homemade lunch like it was when you were a kid off to school. You're lacing up your new hiking boots and other trail users are slowly filling up spots around you. Everyone is smiling and saying good morning to one another, it’s the perfect day for a hike. Except you are no ordinary hiker, you are going to work, and the forest is your office. 


I was lucky enough to have worked as a Forest Ambassador in the 2023 season in partnership with the National Forest Foundation and the Forest Service. I’ll admit it was not always sunshine and roses, the days could be long, hot, and tiresome, but I can confidently say it was far more enjoyable than any office job I have had. 



As a Forest Ambassador I was tasked with hiking the high use areas within the Humboldt- Toiyabe National Forest in the Mt. Rose area, where I frequented trails like Jones Creek and Thomas Creek. Unlike a ranger I was not there to enforce rules but rather educate on how we can all be better trail users, from trail etiquette to Leave No Trace principles. To my surprise the trails were clean aside from the occasional forgotten dog waste, and the trail users were thrilled to have someone helping to keep their beloved trails clean.  


My take on the position was to be as positive as possible, everyone was there to have fun after all. Through this approach I was able to form relationships with the regulars and feel connected and strengthen the community on trails (Plus I made lots of new four legged friends). There is a stigma surrounding newcomers and tourists and a goal of mine was to bridge that gap and help tackle that stigma in the community to make the trails a more positive and welcoming space for everyone. I believe that if we can all care about our wonderful forests then more change will happen for the better.  As a whole this position was a great insight into how many people are on trails throughout the season and helped us gauge how trail users think and the best way to educate on topics like keeping our watershed healthy. 



If I wasn’t doing trail education, I was tabling at events or putting on guided hikes to get a better reach within our community. I attended events with Truckee Meadows Parks Foundation, participated in Northern Nevada Pride, tabled at REI and the Discovery Museum, and much more! This was a great way to connect with people from a broad audience and educate on topics people might not always hear, like the proper way to dispose of poop, human or animal! There are a lot of things we might not even think of, for example how damaging going off trail can be. My best advice is to treat the forest like you’re visiting someone's home, because you are! In reality, we can all be Forest Ambassadors, by educating ourselves and being kind on trail, we can make a big difference together! 


The Forest Ambassador program started in 2022, and we’ve already seen a lot of progress. I can’t wait to see how this program grows and betters our trails, so next time you're out on our amazing trails in the Humboldt - Toiyabe, be on the lookout for a Forest Ambassador!

 

About the Author

Paige served as a Forest Ambassador in partnership with the National Forest Foundation and the Forest Service for the 2023 season. If you are interested in serving as an AmeriCorps member for one of our partnering organizations, check out our open positions here.

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chmeler oletas
chmeler oletas
17 de jun.
Avaliado com 5 de 5 estrelas.

Tell you how grateful I am that you took the time to read about this. In every way, I thought it was great. I'm going to check your blog again to see what new posts you have made. basketball stars

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