August 7, 2009

“Volunteering — a Way to Give Back When Money Isn’t an Option”

In today’s economy, parting with hard-earned dollars to support your favorite charity or cause just may not be feasible. Consider donating yourself and your time as a way to give back without impacting your piggy bank.

Here’s how Chris Knoll, a cartographer here at NatGeo Maps, is giving back:

As part of an ongoing effort to support access to some of Colorado’s most popular 14er mountains, I participated in a stewardship adventure with Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado who partnered with Colorado Fourteeners Initiative. The main focus of this project was to work on building a sustainable trail up to 14,172 foot peak Mount Bross; which is near Fairplay, CO (90 miles southwest of Denver). Due to numerous unmarked mine shafts and a network of unmanaged social trails, access to the summit of Mount Bross was closed in 2006 until private land owners in conjunction with the US Forest Service can come to an agreement on the new route.

This is where the volunteers come in to action. Four crews totaling about forty people were given the task of stabilizing, reconstructing, and rerouting a trail leading up to Mt. Bross. The work included building sustainable portions of trail by installing rock steps where trail erosion is present, delineating one path up the mountain, and covering up social trails by re-vegetating these areas with native tundra plants that grow at higher elevations.

After work was completed each day, volunteers were fed by VOC staff, and were given the opportunity to socialize around the campfire and even take short hikes in the area. However, nights were called in early due to early 5:45 a.m. wake up calls.

All in all, the work that was completed over the weekend was meaningful and fun. It gives me a great sense of accomplishment knowing that one day, I will be able to hike a trail that I helped to construct.

For more information on non-profit volunteer groups mentioned in this article, check out, and

~Chris Knoll, Cartographer, National Geographic Maps

1 comment:

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