Your Very Next Step newsletter for May 2012

Your Very Next Step newsletter for May 2012

By Ned Lundquist

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” – Lao Tzu

“Zeus, the father of the Olympic Gods, turned mid-day into night, hiding the light of the dazzling Sun; and sore fear came upon men.” -Archilochus (c680-c640 BC), Greek poet Refers to the total solar eclipse of 6 April 648 BC.

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*** In this issue:

***  Travel news

***  Robert Bernardo’s travel videos ***  New non-stops from DCA ***  Is Air Travel Actually Getting Better? ***  Best and Worst Airports in America ***  Hiking Safety: Encountering Predators on the Trail ***  10 Incredible Summer-Ready Pools ***  Celebrate National Trails Day on June 2 ***  Cowboy up! ***  National Parks Make Great Getaways for Military Families ***  The New Wave Of Underwater Hotels ***  Great American Backyard Campout ***  11 surprisingly lovable airlines ***  Osprey ***  Build A Healthy Life, One Habit At A Time ***  Altitude sickness ***  Chiggers!

***  Trail / Outdoor / Conservation volunteer opportunities:

1.)  Volunteer Opportunity – Acadia National Park Crews – 2012, Mount Desert Island, ME 2.)  Arizona Trail Stewards, Arizona National Scenic Trail, Arizona Trail Association, various segments in Arizona 3.)  Campground Host – Zapata Falls, San Luis Valley Public Lands Center 4.)  Training program for trail crew leadership, Outdoor Stewardship Institute (OSI), Salida, CO 5.)  Volunteers for the Wild Horse and Burro Program, BLM, California

*** National Rail-Trail of the month:

Trail of the Month: May 2012 Washington’s Olympic Discovery Trail

*** Travel/Adventure/Outdoors/Conservation employment opportunities:

1.)  Bike Park Trail Builder, Stevens Pass, Skykomish, WA 2.)  Server, Trail Lake Adventures, LLC, Trail Lake Lodge, Moose Pass, Alaska 3.)  Natural Resources Specialist (Ranger), Bulltown Historic Area, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Department of the Army, Burnsville, WV 4.)  Park Ranger (Mountaineering), North Cascades National Park, National Park Service, Department Of The Interior, Marblemount, WA 5.)  Summer Ranger, Aspen Skiing Company, Aspen, CO 6.)  Park Ranger 2, Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, Florence, Oregon 7.)  Park Ranger (Protection), Homestead National Monument, National Park Service, Department Of The Interior, Beatrice, NE 8.)  The Squam Conservation Internship / Fellowship, Squam Lakes Association, Holderness, NH 9.)  Hatchery Superintendent, NC Wildlife Resource Commission, Burke County, NC

…and much more…and it’s all FREE!!!

*** Do you have a travel adventure to share?

Send me your stories and I’ll post in the “Your Very Next Step” and on the YVNS website (

***  From Robert Bernardo:

Hi Ned:

I hope you are doing well. I was actually hoping to send you some of my travel stories (per your request below), but I decided to share instead some 4-minute travel videos (with music). I do plan to return to Scandinavia this July 2012. Kindly let your subscribers know that if they need any type of FREE travel advice on Scandinavia–I’m their guy! Enjoy the videos.

Norway 2011:

Scotland 2011:

Thank you, Robert Bernardo, South San Francisco, California

*** Here’s the YVNS Travel News for May:

***  New non-stops from DCA:

Alaska Airlines, JetBlue, Southwest and Virgin America scored rights to serve daily nonstop routes from Reagan Washington National beyond the 1,250-mile perimeter limit that currently restricts flight operations at the airport. The U.S. Department of Transportation granted permission to Alaska for flights to Portland, Ore., to JetBlue for service to San Juan, to Southwest to operate to Austin and to Virgin America for flights to San Francisco. The recent Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization enabled the new services, and according to DOT, “also allowed four large carriers already serving Reagan National to exchange a total of eight slots for flights within the perimeter for an equal number of slot exemptions to permit nonstop flights beyond the perimeter. As a result, American Airlines will trade one roundtrip flight to Dallas-Fort Worth for a flight to Los Angeles, Delta Air Lines will trade one roundtrip flight to New York LaGuardia Airport for a flight to Salt Lake City, United Airlines will trade one roundtrip flight to Chicago O’Hare for a flight to San Francisco and US Airways will trade one roundtrip flight to Dallas-Fort Worth for a flight to San Diego.”

***  Is Air Travel Actually Getting Better?   by Joe Brancatelli May 16 2012   Believe it or not, the experience of getting on an airplane shows signs of improvement—more flights are on time, fewer bags are getting lost, and not as many passengers are being bumped.

Read more:

***  Best and Worst Airports in America

Which airport will you have you flying in style, and which will inflame air rage? Find out with the results of Travel + Leisure’s survey of America’s best and worst airports

***   Hiking Safety: Encountering Predators on the Trail

(After our instructions on how to get a bear out of your tent in the April issue of YVNS, here is some more gouge on how to reason with contentious wildlife.)

by Amy Burkert on Mar 11th, 2011

The snow is melting, the first green buds are appearing, and soon it will be time to hit the trails. Hiking is one of our favorite pet friendly activities, and I know many of you feel the same way. Of course, communing with nature can lead to encounters with wildlife and, while thrilling, it can also be dangerous. Deterring an attack or surviving one requires different behavior depending on the animal you encounter. Before you head out, make yourself familiar with the wildlife that lives in the area you are hiking, and follow these tips to be prepared.   General Tips  •Avoid surprising animals by making noise and staying aware – especially on sections of trail with limited sight lines.  •Putting bear bells on your dog’s collar will alert wildlife to your presence and give the animals time to avoid you.  •Don’t wear headphones. Instead, tune into your surroundings so you can hear approaching animals.  •Don’t jog on the trails known for animal encounters – it stimulates a predator’s instinct to chase and attack.  •Be sure someone knows where you’re going and when you plan to be back.  •Carry a first aid kit and a cell phone.  •Follow leash laws. They are there to protect you and your pets from predators.  •In places where off-leash hiking is allowed, keep pets close to you and within sight at all times. If they run ahead, they may bring the predator right back to you.  •If you are hiking in bear country, keep in mind that bears tend to be more active at dawn and dusk, so plan your hikes accordingly.  •Keep an eye out for tracks, fresh scat, digs, other signs that animals are active in the area.  •Carry bear spray and be sure that you have practiced using it before an attack.   If You See a Mountain Lion   •Stop – don’t run, and stay calm.  •Talk loudly and firmly to the lion in a low voice.  •Face the lion, but avoid direct eye contact as this may be interpreted as a challenge.  •Back away slowly if you can do so safely.  •Make yourself look large – raise your arms or hold a jacket or backpack above your head.  •Pick up you dog (if it’s small enough) so it does not run.  •If the lion behaves aggressively, throw stones, branches, or your belongings at him.   If You Are Attacked by a Mountain Lion  •Don’t run – fight back.  •Use what ever is available to you – your backpack, jacket, sticks, tools, keys, knife, or even your bare hands.  •Protect your head and neck.   If You Meet a Coyote  • Remember, where there’s one coyote, there’s usually a pack. Keep an eye on your surroundings.  •Calmly, but slowly back away and maintain eye contact. Don’t turn your back.  •Don’t run.  •Raise your arms or hold a jacket or backpack over your head to make yourself look bigger.   If You Are Attacked by a Coyote  •If the coyote shows signs of an impending attack act aggressively – yell loudly, and throw rocks, sticks or your belongings at it.  •Throw dirt, gravel, sand – anything you can find – in its eyes.   If You Encounter a Bear  •If you see a bear but the bear doesn’t see you, detour quickly and quietly, but do not run.  •Give the bear plenty of room, allowing it to continue its activities undisturbed. If it changes its behavior, you’re too close so back away.  •If the bear sees you, remain calm and avoid sudden movements.  •You want it to know you’re human so talk in a normal voice and move your arms.  •A standing bear is not always a sign of aggression. Many times, bears will stand to get a better view.  •Throw something onto the ground (like your camera) if the bear pursues you, as it may be distracted by this and allow you to escape.  •Never feed or throw food to a bear.   If a Bear Charges You  •Remember that bears charge as a bluff, running toward you then veering off or stop abruptly. Stand your ground until the bear stops, then slowly back away.  •Never run from a bear! They will give chase, and bears can run faster than 30 mph.  •Don’t run towards or climb a tree. Black bears and some grizzlies can climb trees, and many bear will be provoked to chase you if they see you climbing.   If a Grizzly Bear Attacks  •Play dead!  •Lie face down on the ground with your hands around the back of your neck.  •Stay silent and try not to move.  •Keep your legs spread apart and if you can, leave your pack on to protect your back.  •Once the bear backs off, stay quiet and still for as long as you can. Bears will often watch from a distance and come back if they see movement.   If a Black Bear Attacks  •Be loud, waive your arms, and stand your ground.  •Fight back! Be aggressive and use any object you have.  •Play dead only if you are sure the bear attacking is a mother who is protecting her cubs.  •Use bear spray if you have it. Spray when the bear is within 40 feet so it runs into the fog. Aim for the face.   If You Come Across a Moose (yes, a moose!)   •Do not approach.  •Give them plenty of space.  •Moose often will not move out of the trail so you may need to turn around or go off trail to get around them.  •Keep your dog close to avoid having her irritate the moose, and to prevent the moose from kicking her.   Are there any tips to stay safe while hiking that you’d like to add?   Planning a pet friendly trip of your own? We’ll make it easy:

***  10 Incredible Summer-Ready Pools

***  Celebrate National Trails Day on June 2 On Saturday, June 2, thousands of TRAILgating parties will spring up across the country when American Hiking Society holds its 20th annual National Trails Day, a celebration of America’s trail system and its dedicated outdoor enthusiasts »

***  Cowboy up!

Gsi 148465 H2Jo Coffee-Tea Preparation GSI Outdoors H2JO Percolator : Now your customers can just say no to crappy camp coffee! By simply filling a water bottle with hot water, screwing on the handy filter, adding grounds and closing the lid, making a delicious, no-fuss morning brew is as easy as can be.

You might say that $12.95 is a lot for something that has no moving parts.  You don’t drink coffee, do you?

***  National Parks Make Great Getaways for Military Families

By Lisa Daniel American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 16, 2012 – Ask people what their all-time favorite family vacation has been and chances are good national parks will be in most of the answers. I don’t have any science to back that up, but I have been struck by the number of people who recollect their best memories of family bonding in places like Yellowstone, Yosemite, and the Grand Canyon.

Somehow, even traveling for hours in a cramped car with cranky kids seems to vanish from the memories of those who have experienced America’s most magnificent places. From the peaks of Alaska’s Denali to the lowlands of Florida’s Everglades, the National Park Service’s 397 national parks and many thousands of historical and archaeological sites and wetlands were each brought into the federal system because they are the best of the best – those places deemed worthy of protecting for everyone to see.

That’s exactly what Interior Secretary Ken Salazar had in mind when he announced yesterday that the $80 annual pass for all the national parks and public lands will be waived for active-duty military members and their dependents, starting May 19, Armed Forces Day.

Salazar said he hopes military members and their families will visit the parks and public lands for fun, rest and relaxation, family bonding, and to experience those places America holds dear. As the Interior secretary said, these are “the very places they not only defend, but that they own.”

The World War II generation had a close connection to the parks, National Park Service Director John Jarvis said, because some military training was done there – such as when the 10th Mountain Division trained on Mount Ranier in Washington – and some places were reserved for a time only for returning service members and their families. Also, the federal government then made a push to improve the parks and add infrastructure for the returning warriors.

“If you talk to folks of that generation, they came back, had kids, got in the station wagon, and did the national park tours,” Jarvis said.

Officials hope today’s generation of troops and families make the same connections. And with national parks – 84 million acres of land and 4.5 million acres of oceans, lakes and reservoirs — in every state except Delaware, many are just a day trip, or less, away.

So, why wait? Play hooky on your Saturday chores, let the kids miss soccer practice, pry the electronics out of their hands, and hop in the SUV. Those mountain trails, battlefields, nature preserves and historic homes are just around the corner.

***  The New Wave Of Underwater Hotels

***  Great American Backyard Campout

When kids don’t get outdoor time, their physical, mental and emotional health suffers. You can help us change that by joining NWF’s Great American Backyard Campout on June 23, Great American Backyard Campout supports vital NWF programs that connect families and kids to nature and encourage a healthy, active outdoor lifestyle—and it’s a super night of fun under the stars.

***  11 surprisingly lovable airlines

***  Osprey

***  Build A Healthy Life, One Habit At A Time

NAVY NEWS SERVICE 10 MAY 12 — Douglas H. Stutz, Naval Hospital Bremerton Public Affairs

BREMERTON, Wash. — Naval Hospital Bremerton’s Fitness Fair held May 9 showcased a wide variety of support for the Navy’s 21st Century Sailor and Marine initiative concerning physical fitness.

The NHB Health Promotion sponsored event provided hands-on demonstrations, static displays and knowledgeable staff members working with visiting experts to share how anyone can enhance their fitness level to meet PRT requirements. Those attending the event also learned about how better nutrition options can aid their transition from a ‘culture of testing’ to a ‘culture of physical readiness.’ “Maintaining a culture of health and fitness is an ongoing priority at Naval Hospital Bremerton. Today’s Fitness Fair highlights the many resources that are available to our staff, family members and beneficiaries at the command and in the local community. In accordance with the 21st Century Sailor and Marine initiative, Naval Hospital provides many options for maintaining health and fitness both at work and at play,” said Janet Mano, NHB Health Promotion coordinator.

According to Mano, the nutrition advice readily available can not only improve individual physical readiness performances, but it can also help to collectively overcome a national trend. Nationwide, it is currently estimated by the Center for Disease Control that more than a third of the adult population is obese, and that figure could jump to 42 percent in two decades. Compiled statistics from the CDC shows that in the U.S. there are currently more than 78 million adults who are obese (Obesity is defined as someone having a body mass index of 30 or more. BMI is tabulated by weight and height).

“Healthy Eating is a foundation to fitness. We are highlighting the Navy Operational Fitness and Fueling (NOFFS) guidelines for Performance Nutrition and also “Choose MyPlate” with its many tips for healthy eating. We all know that it is important not to skip meals. Today we are taste testing a variety of sports and granola bars and reading the nutrition labels to help folks decide what might be a good bar to keep on hand for busy times,” said Mano.

“We do get a number of questions associated with nutrition. We’re sharing rules that anyone can follow and live by such as ten tips from the nutrition education series on how to make small changes towards a healthier lifestyle,” said Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Holly Dean, Health Promotion department.

Ten tips to a great plate from the “Choose MyPlate” are based on U.S. Department of Agriculture recommendations for making food choices for a healthy lifestyle. The overall idea is to use the list to balance caloric intake by choosing from healthier food groups to eat more often and cutting back on certain food groups that don’t provide as much nutrition.

The 10 Tips Are:

1.    Balance calories by finding out how many calories are needed to manage weight. Being physically active helps to balance calories. Go to to find the calorie level.

2.    Enjoy your food, but eat less. Eating too fast or when your attention is elsewhere may lead to eating too many calories.

3.    Avoid oversized portions.

4.    Foods to eat more often: vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and fat-free or one percent milk and dairy products. These food have nutrients a person needs for health – including potassium, calcium, vitamin D and fiber.

5.    Make half your plate fruits and vegetables.

6.    Switch to fat-free or low-fat milk.

7.    Make half your grains whole grains.

8.    Foods to eat less often: cut back on foods high in solid fats, added sugars, and salt, such as cakes, cookies, ice cream, sweetened drinks, pizza and fatty meats. Use these on occasion, not as every day food.

9.    Compare sodium in foods. Use the nutrition facts label to choose lower sodium/salt versions of foods like soup, bread and frozen meats.

10.   Drink water instead of sugary drinks. Soda, energy drinks, and sports drinks are a major source of added sugar and calories in American diets. NHB’s Physical Therapy staff were on hand to provide sports injury prevention tips. Joining them for the second year in a row was Bobbi Jackson, Navy Region Northwest Morale Welfare and Recreation (MWR) Fitness Specialist. Jackson demonstrated Navy Operational Fitness and Fueling Series (NOFFS) Fitness techniques and the use of the TRX system. She additionally explained three new programs currently implemented at Naval Base Kitsap Bremerton and Bangor fitness facilities.

“We have the 20/20/20 program with 20 minutes of cardiovascular work, 20 minutes of strength training and 20 minutes of yoga. This provides a good hour workout and is good for any person recovering from a injury or needs a reintroduction after a layoff to increase their flexibility, cardiovascular and strength,” said Jackson.

The bodyology fitness program focuses on strength by making each workout different by constantly altering the routine. The Revivify 2012 program includes weekly educational meetings at either Bremerton or Bangor Fitness Centers with certified Fitness and Nutrition staff; weekly weigh-ins (optional); personalized equipment orientation and workout programs designed to fit a participant’s goals and lifestyle; personal exercise and fitness resources; peer support group; and ongoing support by NBK Fitness staff with health and nutrition analysis and education.

“It’s not like the Biggest Loser TV show. It’s not a competition. It’s more like an overall lifestyle change,” Jackson said.

The Fitness Fair also showed yoga, tai chi, pilates and “de-breathe” meditation classes and performances. Mano attests that core strength, balance, relaxation, safe stretching techniques and peace of mind are all part of a culture of health and fitness in support of the 21st Century Sailor and Marine initiative.

“Yoga surprises a lot of people. It’s not just stretching. It’s got a lot of core strengthening, muscle conditioning and endurance. It also offers that mind and body connection as well as helps with stress reduction,” added Jackson, noting that although yoga might not burn a lot of calories like a kickboxing or spinning class might, a person can still burn 250 to 200 calories per hour session.

The “Mt. Rainier Stairclimb,” “Walk Across Washington,” and “Wellness Challenge” are three of the ongoing locally developed fitness challenges which are available for individuals or groups. Many of the stairwells and elevators at NHB display motivational signs such as “There are 1,440 minutes in a day. Spend 30 of those exercising.” There was local running club information available along with updated walking and running routes at and around NHB, including the “Four Season Equinox Runs.” Advocates for area bicycling groups included advertisements for Friday, May 11, “Bike to Work” day. Pacific Edge Outfitters were on hand to share advice on available outdoor trips, gear rental, bicycle maintenance and safety.

“Nature is at its best in the Pacific Northwest. We highlight MWR sponsored trips, tours and outdoor equipment. Kayaking, hiking, river rafting and stand up paddle boarding are few of the options available through MWR and Pacific Edge Outfitters,” said Mano.

The 21st Century Sailor and Marine initiative consolidates a set of objectives and policies, new and existing, to maximize Sailor and Marine personal readiness, build resiliency and hone the most combat-effective force in the history of the Department of the Navy.

***  Altitude sickness:

What is altitude sickness?

Altitude sickness occurs when you cannot get enough oxygen from the air at high altitudes. This causes symptoms such as a headache, loss of appetite, and trouble sleeping. It happens most often when people who are not used to high altitudes go quickly from lower altitudes to 8000 ft (2438 m) or higher. For example, you may get a headache when you drive over a high mountain pass, hike to a high altitude, or arrive at a mountain resort.

Mild altitude sickness is common. In the United States, more than 20% of people visiting the western mountains get it.1 Experts do not know who will get it and who will not. Being male or female and your fitness level play no role in whether you get altitude sickness.

Recommended Related to Lung Disease/Respiratory Problems

Lung Diseases Overview

Lung diseases are some of the most common medical conditions worldwide. Tens of millions of people suffer from lung disease in the U.S. Smoking, infections, and genetics are responsible for most lung diseases. The lungs are part of a complex apparatus, expanding and relaxing thousands of times daily to bring in oxygen and expel carbon dioxide. Lung disease can result from problems in any part of this system.

What is High Altitude?

High Altitude is from 8,000 to 13,000 feet. This is common hiking elevation in western U.S.  Very High Altitude is 13,000 to 18,000 feet. Some hiking, mostly in high Rocky Mountains.  Extremely High Altitude is over 18,000 feet. Special breathing gear required.   Air is made up of nitrogen, oxygen, and argon with traces of other stuff in it. Nitrogen is about 78%, oxygen is 21%, and argon is 1% – those percentages stay constant no matter what the elevation.  Air pressure becomes less as you climb up a mountain, and less air pressure means less oxygen to breathe. High altitude hiking is when you trek at an elevation that may affect your body. Some people are affected as low as 7000 feet. Let’s take a minute to explain a bit about air pressure and available oxygen.   If you put your arms out and turn around, you’ve made a circle that is about 5 feet wide. Imagine that circle being a column of air going from the ground up, up, up to the edge of the atmosphere. From where you’re standing, there are thousands and thousands of feet of air above you in your column. All the nitrogen, oxygen, and argon above you is pushing down on the air around you. The height of that column of air determines the air pressure where you are and that air pressure determines how densely the gas particles are packed together.   The higher you climb, the less air there is above you in the column, so the lower the air pressure and the less dense the gas. Every 1000 feet you climb, you lose about 3% of the available oxygen because there is less gas packed into your column of air. At 12,000 feet, every breath you take brings in only 2/3 the amount of oxygen that you would suck in at sea level.   Another important thing to keep in mind is that air temperature drops about 3.5 degrees for every 1000 feet of elevation gain. A nice 75 degree day at 5,000 feet will be more like 60 degrees at 10,000 feet.   Hiking at High Altitudes

As you expand your hiking adventures, you’ll probably be driven to hike up higher and higher mountains. At some point, it becomes mountaineering, but there are many peaks over 14,000 feet that have trails all the way to the top. Colorado has many 14,000+ peaks that people make a goal of summiting.   As you climb ever higher, you need to understand the added risks and problems with higher altitudes. You will find yourself needing to breathe deeper and more often to keep enough oxygen circulating to your muscles. Every breath has less oxygen, so you need more breaths. There are more special preparations for higher altitude hiking:  Slower Pace – If you are not expecting the lack of oxygen, you will find yourself needing frequent rest stops to recover. But, by slowing your pace as you gain elevation, you will keep your body working without overexerting.  Even Rhythm – Maintaining a breathing/stepping rhythm is even more important at higher elevations than lower down. It will help keep you from overexerting yourself.  Deep Breathing – when you first notice any breathlessness, start thinking about your breathing. Take deeper breaths and smaller steps until you have a sustainable pace again. On steeper sections, deliberately placing each foot and taking a breath may be the way to go.  Sunscreen is critical because the sun is more powerful higher up. Snow, light-colored rocks, cool temperature, and no shade above treeline also contribute to easy sun burns.  Sunglasses will help prevent squinting and headaches. Snowblindness and sunburned eyelids are real problems. Use side guards on your glasses for more protection.  Extra Clothes – long sleeves, long pants, hats, and gloves to protect from the sun, wind, and cold. Weather can change in a heartbeat, easily dropping more than 30 degrees in 1/2 hour or less.  Ignoring the risks of hiking at higher elevations will ruin your day. If you’re lucky, you’ll just be wiped out, but there’s a good chance you can get yourself in deep trouble.

Altitude Sickness

Everyone needs to breathe more when they are at altitude. But, some people become sick when they hike too high. It just happens. The biggest problem with hikers is that they want to reach their goal and may not accept that they need to stop when problems occur. Being honest enough to stop and possibly turn back can be a very difficult step to take. There are many factors that come into play when altitude sickness hits, but taking some steps will help minimize your risk: Acclimatize – The biggest contributor to altitude sickness is climbing too fast. That means the person in good shape has a good chance of getting sick since he tends to push harder and hike faster. People that reside at lower elevations will experience a greater change at lower heights. To acclimatize: Rest and relax for 2 hours for every 1000 feet the trailhead is above your normal elevation. For example, if you live in Iowa at 1,000 feet and plan to hike in Wyoming at 9,000 feet, you should arrive in the afternoon and start your hike in the morning after sleeping a night to acclimatize. Climb slowly and steadily. Check how you are feeling every hour. Nausea, lack of hunger or thirst, headache, dizziness, difficult breathing, lack of coordination are all warning signs.  On multi-day hikes, sleep no more than 1500 feet higher than the previous night. You can climb higher during the day, but come down to sleep.   Expect It – just because you went to 14,000 feet last summer does not mean your hike to 12,000 feet will not affect you next weekend. Any height over 8,000 feet should make you be on the alert. Every hike is a new experience and by being on the lookout for symptoms, you will catch problems early on.  Hydrate – drinking more water helps reduce the symptoms. Drink even if you do not feel thirsty.  Reduce Exertion – the harder you push your body, the greater your risk of getting symptoms.  Eat Well – eat a high carbohydrate menu, and don’t forget to drink water.

AMS – Acute Mountain Sickness

About 75% of people that hike over 10,000 feet will experience some mild AMS symptoms. Hikers can continue on with mild symptoms, but if they do not subside or they get worse, then corrective action is required. The problem with AMS is that its symptoms are similar to other common hiking problems such as dehydration, fatigue, and eating bad food.  Ignoring these symptoms can result in extreme situations, possibly death. Ordered from most severe to least: Disorientation – confusion, hallucinations, irrational behavior can all be caused by edema, which is swelling of tissue and can be caused by higher elevation.  Loss of Coordination – someone stumbling or dropping their water bottle should be signals. If you suspect someone may be experiencing this, test them: Have him walk heel-to-toe in a straight line.  Have him stand straight with feet together and arms at sides and then close his eyes. He should be able to balance for at least 15 seconds.   Lassitude – similar to exhaustion, just being tired out. After eating and drinking water and resting, exhaustion should go away. If it does not get better, do not go on and keep resting. There will be no energy to eat, talk, or do anything as the situation worsens.  Headache – there are many causes for a headache, from bright sun to altitude sickness. If a headache does not go away after food, water, and rest, then suspect altitude sickness.  Nausea – upset stomach and loss of appetite.   HAPE – High Altitude Pulmonary Edema

High Altitude Pulmonary Edema is excess fluid in the lungs which further reduces oxygen exchange from air to your body. The level of oxygen diminishes which can lead to impaired thinking and ultimately death. HAPE symptoms include shortness of breath while at rest, feeling of tightness in the chest, weakness, feeling of suffocating, persistent cough, and fatigue. The person may also cough up watery fluid.   HACE – High Altitude Cerebral Edema

High Altitude Cerebral Edema is excess fluid in the brain which puts pressure on the brain. This usually develops over a few days but is a life-threatening situation. Disorientation and weird behavior will lead to unconsciousness most likely followed by death if nothing is done.   Treating Altitude Sickness

The important thing to do is stay alert and catch early symptoms fast. The longer symptoms develop, the more drastic the response will need to be. Assuming you catch the symptoms early, follow these steps – but if the symptoms are advanced, decide between the last couple steps: Rest – take a break and take in some fluids and food. Take aspirin for headache. Do not be in a hurry and plan to break for an hour to give the symptoms a chance to recede.  Medicate – Diamox is an altitude medication that may help.  Descend – Drop at least 1,500 feet down the mountain and rest.  Halt – Stop the hike and descend completely off the mountain.  9-1-1 – Call for medical services. If the victim can hike, start descending immediately, not in the morning or after supper, now! Otherwise, wait for evacuation.

From Web MD:

Altitude sickness can be dangerous. It is smart to take special care if you go high-altitude hiking or camping (like in the Rockies) or have plans for a vacation or trek in high-altitude countries like Peru, Ecuador, or Nepal.

Altitude sickness is also called acute mountain sickness.

What causes altitude sickness?

Air is “thinner” at high altitudes. When you go too high too fast, your body cannot get as much oxygen as it needs. This causes the headache and other symptoms of altitude sickness. As your body gets used to the altitude, the symptoms go away.

What are the symptoms?

The symptoms of altitude sickness include: • A headache, which is usually throbbing. It gets worse during the night and when you wake up. • Not feeling like eating. • Feeling sick to your stomach. You may vomit. • Feeling weak and lazy. In severe cases, you do not have the energy to eat, dress yourself, or do anything. • Waking up during the night and not sleeping well. • Feeling dizzy.

Your symptoms may be mild to severe. They may not start until a day after you have been at a high altitude. Many people say altitude sickness feels like having a hangover.

Altitude sickness can affect your lungs and brain. When this happens, symptoms include being confused, not being able to walk straight (ataxia), feeling faint, and having blue or gray lips or fingernails. When you breathe, you may hear a sound like a paper bag being crumpled. These symptoms mean the condition is severe. It may be deadly.

If you are going on a high-altitude trek, learn about altitude sickness, its symptoms, and how to treat it. Look out for other people in your group. You can learn more about altitude sickness at the International Society for Mountain Medicine website at

How is altitude sickness diagnosed?

If you are at a high altitude, your doctor may think you have this condition. Your doctor will ask you questions about your symptoms and examine you. To rule out other conditions, your doctor may ask if you have been drinking fluids or alcohol or using any medicines, or if you have a cold or the flu.

If you are hiking or camping, you and those with you need to know the symptoms of altitude sickness. People often mistake altitude sickness for the flu, a hangover, not getting enough fluids, or feeling tired. As a rule, consider your symptoms to be altitude sickness unless you can prove they are not.

How is it treated?

The best treatment for altitude sickness is to go to a lower altitude. But if you have mild symptoms, you may be able to stay at that altitude and let your body get used to it. Symptoms often occur if you have just arrived at a mountain resort from a lower altitude.

You may also be able to use oxygen or a specially designed pressure chamber to treat altitude sickness.

If you stay at a high altitude, rest. You can explore the area, but take it easy. Limit any walking or activity. Drink plenty of water, but do not drink alcohol. Do not go to a higher altitude until your symptoms go away. This may take from 12 hours to 3 or 4 days.

For the headache, you can take an over-the-counter medicine, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), or naproxen (Aleve). Do not give aspirin to anyone younger than 20. Aspirin has been linked to Reye syndrome, a serious illness. You may also use medicine to reduce feeling sick to your stomach or other symptoms.

A doctor can give you acetazolamide (Diamox). This speeds up how fast your body gets used to the higher altitude. Nifedipine (Procardia) and dexamethasone are also used for altitude sickness. You may also be able to use oxygen or a specially designed pressure chamber to treat altitude sickness.

Go to a lower altitude if your symptoms are moderate to severe, they get worse, or medicine or oxygen treatment does not help. Go down at least 1500 ft (457 m). Go to a lower altitude as fast as you can or get emergency help if someone with you has severe symptoms such as being confused or not being able to walk straight. Go with the person. Never let someone with severe altitude sickness go down alone.

Can you prevent altitude sickness?

You may be able to prevent altitude sickness by taking your time when you go to high altitudes, using medicine in advance, and eating certain foods. If you go to altitudes higher than 8000 ft (2438 m), try to spend a night at a medium altitude before going higher. For example, in the United States, spend a night in Denver before going to the Rocky Mountains. Do not fly into high-altitude cities. If this is not possible, avoid large meals, alcohol, and being very active after you arrive. Rest, and drink plenty of liquids. If you have symptoms, do not go higher until they have gone away. Examples of high-altitude cities include Cuzco, Peru; La Paz, Bolivia; and Lhasa, Tibet. Sleep at an altitude that is lower than the altitude you were at during the day. For example, if you ski at 9500 ft (2896 m) during the day, sleep the night before and the night after at 8000 ft (2438 m). “Climb high, sleep low” is standard practice for those who spend time at high altitudes. You may consider taking acetazolamide (Diamox) or possibly dexamethasone before going to a high altitude.2 Talk to your doctor about this. Eat a lot of carbohydrate. This includes breads, cereals, grains, and pasta.

What if you have a lung problem or other disease?

Experts do not know much about how altitude affects other diseases. Many people with allergic asthma do better at high altitudes. Still, if you have asthma and are going to high altitudes, continue to use your usual medicine and take your reliever medicine with you. Talk with your doctor about altitude sickness if you have long-term diseases, especially heart problems, sickle cell anemia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), or sleep apnea.

***  Chiggers:

Chiggers first show up as annoying red bumps. An itch begins. It grows. More hard red welts surface. From your feet and ankles upward, and especially at those tender locations your mother told not to scratch in public, a maddening itch takes hold. Savage scratching begins. Every welt becomes a persistent, exquisitely itching preoccupation that continues to irritate for days and even weeks. You probably recognize these symptoms of chigger bites. Yet we never see the culprits responsible for this summertime agony. What are chiggers? Why do they bite us? How can we stop that horrible itching? Myths about chiggers are widespread. Many believe chiggers are some type of bug. Folklore tells us they burrow under our skin and die, that they drink our blood and that they can best be killed by suffocation with nail polish or bathing with bleach, alcohol, turpentine or salt water. Surprisingly, all these popular facts are just plain wrong. Chiggers are related to ticks Chiggers are not bugs or any other type of insect. Chiggers are the juvenile (or larval) form of a specific family of mites, the Trombiculidae. Mites are arachnids, like spiders and scorpions, and are closely related to ticks. Chigger mites are unique among the many mite families in that only the larval stage feeds on vertebrate animals; chiggers dine on us only in their childhood, and later become vegetarians that live on the soil. Chiggers are tiny–less than 1/150 of an inch in diameter. More than a thousand of them could line up across this page and still leave room for two or three hundred more. At this size, chiggers are almost invisible to the unaided eye. However, when several chiggers cluster together near an elastic waistband or wristwatch they can be seen because of their bright red color. Chiggers are born red; they do not become red from feeding on blood as some believe. An engorged, well fed chigger changes to a yellow color. Under the microscope, you can see that the chigger is an ugly little creature (if it was larger, it could star in any science fiction movie). Although adult chigger mites have eight legs, the troublesome young chiggers have only six. Like ticks, they bite and hang on One of the greatest misconceptions about chiggers is that they burrow into our skin and eventually die within the tissues, thus causing the persistent itch. This widespread myth has its origin in the southern states where pests with similar names such as jigger flea or the chigoe do attack by burrowing under skin. Chiggers are not equipped to burrow, and they are much too large to enter through the pores. If chiggers do not burrow under skin or drink blood, what are they doing that itches so much? Chiggers do bite us, much like ticks do. Chiggers attach by inserting minute specialized mouth parts into skin depressions, usually at skin pores or hair follicles. The chigger’s piercing mouth parts are short and delicate, and can penetrate only thin skin or where the skin wrinkles and folds. That’s why most chigger bites are around the ankles, the back of the knees, about the crotch, under the belt line and in the armpits. The insertion of the mouth parts is not perceptible. The bite alone is not the source of the itch. Chiggers suck up liquefied tissue, not blood The reason the bite itches so intensely and for such a long time is that the chigger injects saliva into its victim after attaching to the skin. This saliva contains a powerful digestive enzyme that literally dissolves the skin cells it contacts. It is this liquefied tissue, never blood, that the chigger ingests and uses for food. A chigger usually goes unnoticed for one to three hours after it starts feeding. During this period the chigger quietly injects its digestive saliva. After a few hours your skin reacts by hardening the cells on all sides of the saliva path, eventually forming a hard, tube-like structure called a stylostome. The stylostome walls off the corrosive saliva, but it also functions like a feeding tube for the hungry chigger. The chigger sits with its mouthparts attached to the stylostome, and like a person drinking a milk shake through a straw, it sucks up your liquefied tissue. Left undisturbed, the chigger continues alternately injecting saliva into the bite and sucking up liquid tissue. It is the stylostome that irritates and inflames the surrounding tissue and causes the characteristic red welt and intense itch. The longer the chigger feeds, the deeper the stylostome grows, and the larger the welt will eventually become. The idea that the welt swells and eventually engulfs the feeding chiggers is also a myth. Many people have seen a small red dot inside a welt (usually under a water blister), but this is the stylostome tube and not a chigger body. The time required for a chigger to complete its meal varies with the location of the bite, the host and the species. If undisturbed, chiggers commonly take three or four days, and sometimes longer, to eat their dinner. This is not surprising when you consider that this is the first and last meal of the young chigger’s life. Scratching kills them On human hosts, however, chiggers seldom get the chance to finish a meal. The unlucky chigger that depends on a human for its once-in-a-lifetime dinner is almost sure to be accidentally brushed away or scratched off by the victim long before the meal is complete. It may give you some consolation to know that when a chigger is removed before it has fully engorged, it cannot bite again and will eventually die. Seems only just, doesn’t it? The long-lasting itch is an allergic reaction Itching usually peaks a day or two after the bite occurs. This happens because the stylostome remains imbedded in your skin tissue long after the chigger is gone. Your skin continues the itch, an allergic reaction to stylostome, for many days. The stylostome is eventually absorbed by your body, a slow process that takes a week to 10 days, or longer. It is of little comfort to learn that North American chiggers only bite humans by accident. Although our chiggers can feed on most animals, they are really looking for reptiles and birds, their preferred hosts. The itching reaction human skin has to chigger bites occurs because we are not their correct hosts. Chiggers that specifically prey on humans in Asia and Pacific Islands cause no itching! They’re fast and attracted to anything new Unlike ticks, which quietly wait for hosts, chiggers run about almost constantly. Chiggers tend to move towards and onto any new object placed in their environment. You can test your lawn for the presence of chiggers by placing a black piece of cardboard or a white saucer vertically on the ground. If chiggers are present they will move rapidly over the object and accumulate on the upper edge where you can see them with a magnifying glass. The chiggers have long legs and can move rapidly. They are capable of getting all over a person’s body in just a few minutes. The long trek from a victim’s shoe to the belt line (a favorite point of attack) is a climb that take about 15 minutes but is more than 5,000 times the chiggers’s tiny length. That’s about the same as a human scaling a large mountain–and on an empty stomach. Chiggers are small enough to penetrate the meshes of your clothing, but they usually stay on the surface of your clothes until they come to an easy opening such as your cuffs, collar or waistband. Once they are on your body, chiggers wander about for an hour or more looking for a tender spot to dine. If these traveling chiggers reach an obstacle such as a belt or an elastic band, rather than cross over the obstacle or go under it, they stop and begin to feed. They prefer the tender skin of women and children The distribution of chiggers in any area is extremely spotty. Chiggers tend to congregate in patches, while nearby spots of apparently the same suitable living space is free of them. Often, people will be heavily attacked while sitting in a chigger concentration area, while the lucky folks sitting only a few yards away will get no bites at all. Women and children get more bites than men. Folklore says that if chiggers have a choice, they will attack women before men. But the truth is that men, women and children collect the same number of chiggers during a walk in the woods. Women and children just have thinner skin, and thus more surface area that chiggers can easily bite. Avoid chigger-infested areas on warm afternoons Chiggers are affected by temperature. They are most active in afternoons, and when the ground temperature is between 77 and 86 degrees. Chiggers become completely inactive when substrate temperatures fall below 60 degrees; temperature below 42 degrees will kill the chigger species that bite us. If you can, plan your outdoor activities around your thermometer reading to keep chigger bites to a minimum. Researchers have also found that chiggers actively avoid objects hotter than 99 degrees. Rocks that have been baking in the sun are almost always free of chiggers, and make a safe place to sit when you are in a chigger-infested area. Wear the right kind of clothes The first line of defense against chiggers is the right kind of clothing. Shorts, sleeveless shirts and sandals are nearly suicidal in chigger infested areas. Wear tightly woven socks and clothes, long pants, long sleeved shirts, and high shoes or boots. Tucking pant legs inside boots and buttoning cuffs and collars as tightly as possible also helps keep the wandering chiggers on the outside of your clothes. When you get home, change clothes as soon as possible, and wash them before you wear them again. If you don’t, the chiggers will get you the next time you put them on. Regular mosquitoes repellents will repel chiggers. All brands are equally effective. Applying these products to exposed skin and around the edge of openings in your clothes, such as cuffs, waistbands, shirt fronts and boot tops, will force chiggers to cross the treated line to get inside your clothes. Unfortunately these repellents are only potent for two to three hours and must be reapplied frequently. Powdered sulphur is the best defense–if you and your friends can stand the smell By far, the most effective and time-proven repellent for chiggers is sulphur. Chiggers hate sulphur and definitely avoid it. Powdered sulphur, called sublimed sulphur or flowers of sulfur, is available through most pharmacies. Dust the powdered sulphur around the opening of your pants, socks and boots. If you plan to venture into a heavily infested area, powdered sulphur can be rubbed over the skin on your legs, arms and waist. Some people rub on a mixture of half talcum powder and half sulphur. But a word of warning: sulphur has a strong odor. The combination of sulfur and sweat will make you unpleasant company for anyone who has not had the same treatment. Sulphur is also irritating to the skin of some people. If you have not used sulphur before, try it on a small area of your skin first. Some families have problems enjoying summer backyard activities because of chiggers. The most effective means to eliminate these chiggers is just remove the habitat favored by the adults and juveniles. Clearing away brush and weeds, keeping the grass cut close to the ground and removing conditions which attract small animals that can serve as hosts is the best way to get chiggers out of your yard. Chiggers seldom survive in areas that are well groomed. Take a hot, soapy bath immediately after exposure The best precaution against chigger bites is simply taking a warm soapy bath with plenty of scrubbing as soon as possible after exposure. If you bathe at once, while the chiggers are still running over your body, you can wash them off before they bite. A bath will also remove any attached and feeding chiggers before you start to feel the itch. Warm soapy water is all that is necessary to remove and kill chiggers. There is no need, and it is rather dangerous, to apply household products such as kerosene, turpentine, ammonia, alcohol, gasoline or dry-cleaning fluid. Don’t do it. Attached chiggers are removed by even the lightest rubbing. If you are away from civilization, you can remove attached chiggers before they do much damage by frequently rubbing down with a towel or a cloth. What can you do to alleviate suffering if these precautions fail? Lotions will relive the itching somewhat, but no substance is completely effective. The only ultimate cure is time, since there is nothing you can do to dislodge the chigger’s feeding tube, the true cause of your itch. You must simply wait until your body breaks down and absorbs the foreign object. In the meantime, local anesthetics such as benzocaine, camphor-phenol and ammonium hydroxide may provide you with several hours of comfort at a stretch. Over-the-counter creams can also help. In rare cases, some people are allergic to chigger bites and require prescription medications from their doctor. Nail polish doesn’t work The most popular home remedy for which there is little justification is to dab nail polish on the welt. This cannot “smother” the chigger because it has not burrowed into your skin, and it was probably scratched off long ago. The only benefit to applying a thick coat of nail polish is that it helps to remind you not to scratch the bite. Chronic scratching will only cause the stylostome to further irritate. Scratching deep enough to remove the stylostome will probably cause a secondary infection that is worse than the original chigger bite. If you do scratch, disinfect the chigger bite with topical antiseptics. Fortunately, in North America the only real danger from chigger bites is secondary infections that develop after scratching with dirty fingernails. Our chiggers do not carry Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, tularemia or any other disease. Some veterans may recall this is not the case in Asia and the Pacific, where chiggers can transmit disease called scrub typhus. Luckily, Missourians have nothing to fear from chiggers except that terrible itch. There is no creature alive that can cause more torment for its size than the chigger. By at least knowing what your attacker is and how it operates, you can itch less this summer and get more enjoyment from your outdoor activities. Nina Bicknese, former MDC natural history biologist

*** Trail/Outdoor/Conservation volunteer opportunities:

1.)  Volunteer Opportunity – Acadia National Park Crews – 2012, Mount Desert Island, ME

About The Crew:

Acadia National Park offers some of the finest and most diverse hiking opportunities in the US. Trails range from steep mountain climbs with scenic wooded areas and open ridge walks to gentle routes and carriage paths used by walkers, mountain bikers and equestrians.

Your experienced AMC Trails Program crew leader will provide training and supervision for your volunteer crew, under direction from the National Park Trail Crew. This program is open to all over the age of 18, however this is the ideal crew for first time Trails Volunteers or older individuals.

We will head out from AMC Echo Lake Camp each day to our project.  No backcountry camping is allowed in the National Park. Work locations may involve up to a two-mile hike in from the trailhead. The crews will work four days during the week, (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday) averaging 6-8 hours/day in the field, with Friday and Saturday free for enjoying the Park. Projects may include clearing drainage ditches, brushing back vegetation, hardening trails with gravel, constructing bog bridges, or building rock stairs or drainage structures.

Camp Life:

While based out of AMC Echo Lake Camp the crew stays in canvas wall tents on wooden platforms. All tents have two cots with mattresses and a nightstand. There are blankets and pillows available, but be sure to bring a sleeping bag as well to be extra toasty. There is a library, dining room and kitchen, and main bathhouse with showers and bathroom facilities as well. At this time of the season, AMC Echo Lake Camp is only open for the Volunteer Trail Crew Programs.

The crew will work together to prepare delicious meals each day, with some meals featuring fresh local seafood! There will be plenty of food to satisfy the Trail Worker appetite. After dinner the crew can relax, go for a swim, take out one of the canoes or kayaks, or head over to the town of Bar Harbor for a game Bocce.

This is a great way to experience Acadia National Park while providing a valuable service to the Park as well.

What The Volunteers Say:

“Loved the physical challenge of the work and great satisfaction in finishing part of the trail. We worked at our individual paces and all effort was appreciated. You could see the results and their positive impact. I loved it.” Bess (2011 Acadia Participant)

“Loved the whole thing. Work, Leader, planning, food—all well organized and fun. I used tools that I’ve never used before. I felt the team worked together very well, and we accomplished a lot. I felt a real sense of accomplishment.” Joannie (2011 Acadia Participant)

“It’s a great program. I felt like I really made a difference and I cannot wait to return to see my handiwork. It felt good to pay back, through trail work, for the years of enjoyable hiking on New England trails.” Allan (2011 Acadia Participant)   2012 Dates:  September 2-8  September 9-15  September 16-22  September 23-29

Contribution:  $250 (AMC members)  $275 (non-members)

2.)  Arizona Trail Stewards, Arizona National Scenic Trail, Arizona Trail Association, various segments in Arizona

3.)  Campground Host – Zapata Falls, San Luis Valley Public Lands Center   Located 12 miles from the Great Sand Dunes National Park   The Bureau of Land Management is looking for a campground host for its Zapata Falls Campground. The 25-site campground is BLM’s newest in Colorado, opened in June 2011.

Campground hosts are on-site ambassadors for the BLM, welcoming visitors, answering questions about Zapata Falls and the surrounding area, as well as acquainting them with campground amenities and rules. BLM supplies weekly bathroom cleaning and trash removal. Hosts are responsible for day-to-day campground duties, including: ensuring campground rules are followed; conducting visitor monitoring; as well as some basic campground maintenance such as checking the bathrooms, picking up trash, removing ash from fire pits.

In exchange for these services, the host will receivefee-free camping in a beautiful corner of the San Luis Valley. A new water system has been installed in the camp host site but electric and septic hook-ups are not provided. The BLM will provide reimbursement for generator fuel, propane and septic tank dumping fees (Blue Boy Tank available). Groceries and other supplies are not provided. Shopping can be found 30 miles away in Alamosa. *End date is flexible.

If you are interested in helping out this summer, please contact Sean Noonan at or Clayton Davey at   Location

The San Luis Valley is one of the undiscovered jewels of Colorado. Situated roughly 4 hours south of Denver and 4 hours north of Albuquerque, NM, the valley’s 3 million-plus acres of public lands offer recreation for all ages and fitness levels. Located at the base of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains Zapata Falls Campground sits at 9,000 feet. The Great Sand Dunes National Park and Colorado’s 5th highest mountain, Blanca Peak, respectively neighbor the Falls. 37.62142, -105.56025 Northeast of Alamosa, CO, 81101 Alamosa County

4.)  Training program for trail crew leadership, Outdoor Stewardship Institute (OSI), Salida, CO   The Outdoor Stewardship Institute (OSI) will present an exciting training program for trail crew leadership in Salida, CO.   The Outdoor Stewardship Institute (OSI) will present an exciting training program for trail crew leadership. This two-day training will introduce the fundamentals of successful volunteer crew management for the construction and maintenance of sustainable trails. Through classroom sessions, field exercises and role-playing you’ll learn and practice construction and maintenance of sustainable trails, leadership strategies and techniques, tool use, and safety. All trainees will receive a Crew Leader manual , a set of quick reference cards, and other materials that make for a successful crew leadership experience. All training topics are directly applicable to any non-profit or agency trail maintenance or construction project! This workshop is best for individuals who have had experience working on trail projects or previous crew leadership experiences.   This training costs $60. For one of the discounted costs below, please contact Claire at the VOC office:303-715-1010 x115 or   VOC member or volunteer (volunteered 3+ times in the last 5 years): $10  AmeriCorps or youth corps member: $10  Land management agency employee: $35  Friends of Salida Ranger District: $35   Registration Fee:

This training costs $60. For one of the discounted costs below, please contact Claire at the VOC office:303-715-1010 x115 or   VOC member or volunteer (volunteered 3+ times in the last 5 years): $10  AmeriCorps or youth corps member: $10  Land management agency employee: $35  Friends of Salida Ranger District: $35


The classroom portion of the training will take place at the Salida Scout Hut in Riverside park. The field portion will take place on the Columbine trail. Directions will be sent prior to the training.

5.)  Volunteers for the Wild Horse and Burro Program, BLM, California    The Bureau of Land Management’s California Wild Horse and Burro Program has many opportunities for the public to volunteer.  We have more than 300 volunteers helping the Wild Horse and Burro Program throughout the state.   As the number of animals adopted in California continues to drop, the need for public volunteers is ever increasing.  We need your help to promote how wonderful the wild mustangs are to adopt.  However, we have needs besides promotion. Below you will find short descriptions of the variety of positions available in the Wild Horse and Burro Program.   Adoption Events   Showcase adopted and trained animal(s) at adoption events. Interact with potential adopters regarding the positive attributes of the wild horse or burro. Introduce tools available to assist adopter with their newly adopted wild horse or burro. Assist adopters in selection of animal(s), if desired. Discuss with potential adopters about how they heard about an adoption and why people who attended the event did or did not adopt. Keep track of adopter’s or potential adopter’s responses to assist in increasing promotion efforts ensuring marketing tools used by the Public Affairs specialist are the best available and appropriate to the locale. A specific interim reporting form will be provided. The volunteer will give the interim reporting form to the Public Affairs Officer assigned to that specific adoption event. It is the responsibility of the Public Affairs Officer to forward information on to the Volunteer Coordinator.   Inspect trailers to ensure all BLM requirements are met. Assist adopters in quick improvements should their trailer not meet minimum requirements as explained by BLM wranglers and other BLM officials in charge.   Provide delivery service at adoption events, at no charge to the adopter, as well as ensuring the adopter’s facility meets BLM minimum requirements during drop-off. In the event facility requirements do not meet BLM’s minimum standards, the “adopted” animal(s) will not be off-loaded, but will be returned to the adoption site. It is expected that volunteers will explain to the potential adopters their facilities’ shortcomings. It is the responsibility of the adopter or potential adopter to work with BLM to meet the minimum adoption standards, should they still be interested in adopting. Volunteers will be reimbursed for mileage expenses when transporting adopted animals at the standard government rate and following government procedures.   Assist in policing potential adopters and/or their children to stay off adoption panels and/or out of wild horse and burro pens. Assist with policing during the competitive bidding process to ensure appropriate procedures are followed and pulling competitive bid sheets when time is called.   Assist with screening adopters and assisting with their paperwork. The final approval process and signature authority remains with BLM through internal delegations of authority.   At the request of BLM Officials, assist with working animals, i.e., sorting, haltering, etc., at adoption events and set-up and dismantle at adoption site.   Promotion   Post flyers about upcoming wild horse and burro adoptions and events. Common businesses to post at are feed and tack stores, western-wear stores, grocery stores, boarding stables and any other equine-related business and/or where people frequent. (This is not an all-inclusive list.) Distribute adoption information to local Chambers of Commerce, enlist and engage the local community and garner support and buy-in for the wild horse and burro program and upcoming adoption events. Conduct field visits to local communities, schools, businesses, etc. prior to the event to promote individual adoption events. Showcase adopted and trained wild horse or burro to the media as well as at the adoption event. (Advanced training is required for presentations to the media.)   All promotional activities will be approved and coordinated through the Public Affairs Specialist assigned to the adoption. At no time, may volunteers act on their own without coordination with the assigned Public Affairs Specialist.   Compliance Checks   Coordinate with California State Lead and local Wild Horse and Burro Compliance Officer regarding compliance inspection assignments. Training is provided for conducting compliance checks. Contact adopter by telephone to inquire about the location and physical health of animals, identify how the adopter may obtain assistance with animal care or gentling, notify them of upcoming compliance inspection. Document the call and response in adopter’s file.   Conduct on-site compliance inspections to document physical condition of adopted animal(s) and ensure facility meets adoption standards and is consistent with information provided on the approved Application to Adopt Wild Horses and Burros.   Communicate with adopter any areas of non-compliance identified and explain steps necessary to correct problems. Also, notify adopter that a BLM Compliance Officer will contact them to establish a time-period for correcting deficiencies and arrange for a follow-up inspection. Provide compliance reports to the BLM Compliance Officer within mutually agreed timelines. All compliance inspections will be accomplished within the mutually agreed upon periods. Failure to conduct timely compliance inspections without the previous approval of the compliance officer will result in removal from conducting compliance inspections.   Enhancing Adoptability   Provide halter training to increase a wild horse’s adoptability. Animal should be able to halter and lead easily within the timeframe allowed (60 days). Designated animals may be “special needs animals”, animals that were not adopted at an adoption event or those identified by BLM personnel. Host educational seminars prior to and/or after an adoption event.   Rehabilitate neglected or abused animals for reassignment to other adopters. Natural horsemanship skills utilizing the approach and retreat method is the only approved method for training.   Locate a permanent adopter that meets BLM’s requirements, or personally adopt the animal.   At no time may more than four untitled wild horses and/or burros be located at the property address listed on the holding facilities volunteer agreement without prior approval from a BLM Official. Animals may not be removed from the address identified without prior approval from BLM.   The BLM Official, i.e., adoption coordinator, compliance officer, etc., will ensure that all information regarding animals turned over to volunteers for additional work or enhancing adoptability are recorded in a timely manner to the internal BLM adoption database. It is the responsibility of BLM to ensure all animals are accounted for through BLM’s internal Wild Horse and Burro Information database.   BLM Facilities   Conduct tours to interested parties at BLM facilities. A thorough understanding of the wild horse and burro program and the facility is required, including all areas within the facility that are not open to the public. Tour groups may be large or small in nature or may be individuals interested in adopting.   Develop rapport with potential adopter and/or interested party. Assist adopter in their selection of animal(s) if desired. Interact with interested parties regarding the positive attributes of the wild horse or burro. Introduce tools (adopter’s assistants, veterinarians, farriers, etc.) to assist adopter with their newly adopted wild horse or burro. Provide delivery service at the request of BLM. Assist with screening adopters and completing paperwork at the request of BLM.   Adopter’s Assistants (Mentors)   Assist adopters with locating trainers, veterinarians, farriers etc. in the adopter’s locale. Assist adopters with answers to specific questions relating to temperament, training, and other advice the new adopter may be seeking. Assistance can be provided through electronic mail, by phone, or in person. (Note – volunteers will not be covered under the Federal Tort Claims Act when voluntarily going into an enclosed area with an ungentled, newly adopted wild horse or burro.)   Provide the new adopter with the opportunity to belong to the “BLM Wild Horse and Burro Family.” Provide new adopter with an avenue to vent frustrations to a private individual and provide positive feedback and suggestions for possible improvements, if needed.   On the Range   At the request and approval of the BLM Official, volunteers may assist with removal of abandoned range improvements, i.e. fencing, etc. Assist with construction and maintenance of range improvements. Assist with monitoring habitat and animals. Assist with collecting research data. Assist with bait trapping excess wild horses and burros. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer for the Wild Horse and Burro Program, please contact the office nearest you from the following list:     Litchfield Holding Facility P.O. Box 455 Litchfield, CA 96117 (800) 545-4256

Ukiah Field Office 2550 North State Street Ukiah, CA 95482 (707) 468-4055

Mother Lode Field Office 5152 Hillsdale Circle El Dorado Hills, CA 95762 (916) 941-3101

Ridgecrest Regional Holding Facility 300 S. Richmond Road Ridgecrest, CA  93555 (800) 951-8720   California State Office 2800 Cottage Way, Suite W-1834 Sacramento, CA 95825 (916) 978-4678

*** National Rail-Trail of the month:

Trail of the Month: May 2012 Washington’s Olympic Discovery Trail

Thanks to the huge popularity of the Twilight saga books and movies, millions of people around the world now associate the northern part of Washington’s Olympic Peninsula with vampires and werewolves.   Although the novels are set in real locations on the peninsula, you won’t find any of Twilight’s gothic drama if you journey there. What you will find, however, is plenty of natural drama—snow-capped mountains, verdant rainforests, rocky coasts, pristine lakes—and a rail-trail running through it.   “Our greatest asset is our natural setting—it’s just drop-dead gorgeous,” says Andrew Stevenson, co-leader of the Peninsula Trails Coalition (PTC), a volunteer group that coordinates efforts on the Olympic Discovery Trail. “Our trail takes full advantage of that and provides some first-class aesthetic experiences.”   The route of the Olympic Discovery Trail stretches 126 miles across the northern edge of the peninsula, from Port Townsend in the east to La Push on the Pacific Ocean. The trail itself is a work in progress, with large gaps that must be bridged by on-street riding. But the scenic splendors of this area, together with its compelling stories (both fictional and historical), make this path unusually noteworthy.   Originally inhabited by the Klallam, Makah and Quileute peoples (the latter of whom figure prominently in the Twilight series), the remote Olympic peninsula began attracting large numbers of white settlers in the latter decades of the 19th century. Many of these new residents were drawn by the towering stands of cedar, fir, hemlock and spruce trees blanketing the landscape—and logging quickly became the area’s major industry. Rail lines were built to move timber from forest land to mills and ports on the northern coast. The Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad took over these lines, and rail service continued for several decades—decades that saw the establishment of Olympic National Park and the growth of tourism to the area, among other changes.   As the railroad declined and tracks were left idle in the late 1980s, the concept of a rail-trail traversing the peninsula was born, along with PTC. According to Stevenson, the group failed in its initial attempts to secure the entire railroad corridor, and control of the right-of-way was split among various owners, including both individuals and government entities. PTC has spent the past two decades trying to put the pieces back together and create a continuous trail.   “Where we can, we’re reusing the old railroad grade, and where we can’t, we bypass it,” says Stevenson. “About 60 miles are completely done or on a long-term interim route—primarily lightly traveled secondary roads. Our vision is to make the whole length a classic shared-use path, with both a paved section for cyclists and pedestrians and a gravel shoulder for equestrians.”   Stevenson says he’s confident the trail will be 80 percent complete within the next decade, but he points out that the group faces many challenges. One is that right-of-way acquisition is only on a “willing seller” basis—property condemnation is not part of the process.   Another difficulty is working with the 10 different government agencies—from federal to local to tribal—that have authority over different parts of the trail. That challenge was brought into stark relief last fall when the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, which manages land on the proposed route of the trail around Discovery Bay, told PTC the route must be changed to accommodate environmental work planned for that property. As a result, with short notice PTC had to raise $45,000 to pay for the design of a 2,000-foot section of trail to circumvent a sensitive wetland area.   Since failure to meet the fundraising goal would have meant a permanent gap in that part of the trail, the group scrambled to get the word out. Thanks to the generous support of its 500-plus members, volunteers, and others who care about the trail, PTC raised the money ahead of schedule. But Stevenson points out that the design plan is just the first step for this segment of the trail. “It was a major success, but we’re not finished—we don’t have the funding for construction.”   An additional challenge the group faces is drawing larger numbers of users from outside the area. Most people who use the path currently are residents of larger towns on the route, such as Port Angeles and Sequim, who are out for a stroll or riding to work, Stevenson says. “We’re still trying to crack the nut of getting recognition as a destination trail,” he says. Because out-of-town users spend significant amounts of money on food, lodging and other goods and services, “we know that that’s our future and what we need to do.”   With all of the drama on display, and tens of thousands of Twilight fans flocking to the area, it seems likely that the Olympic Discovery Trail will soon be a destination to howl over. *** Travel/Adventure/Outdoors/Conservation employment opportunities:

1.)  Bike Park Trail Builder, Stevens Pass, Skykomish, WA

Responsible for building, maintaining, repairing, and improving all Bike Park trails. Perform re-vegetation work; spreading mulch, seed, and fertilizer, raking, and building water-bars. Safely operate trail maintenance tools, hand tools, power tools, and heavy equipment. Evaluate and make required adjustments to attain desired final appearance of trail projects.   Requirements: Experience with hand and power tools, preferably power saws and circular blade saws. Experience operating heavy equipment preferred. Ability to be insured to operate company vehicles. Ability to hike on steep, rough, and uneven terrain carrying equipment and supplies for extended periods of time. Capable of regularly lifting up to 50 pounds. Must be comfortable with the changing dynamics of a seasonal business.

Note: This is an abbreviated description.

2.)  Server ($7.75/hour plus gratuities), Trail Lake Adventures, LLC, Trail Lake Lodge, Moose Pass, Alaska

3.)  Natural Resources Specialist (Ranger), Bulltown Historic Area, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Department of the Army, Burnsville, WV   4.)  Park Ranger (Mountaineering), North Cascades National Park, National Park Service, Department Of The Interior, Marblemount, WA

5.)  Summer Ranger, Aspen Skiing Company, Aspen, CO

6.)  Park Ranger 2, Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, Florence, Oregon

7.)  Park Ranger (Protection), Homestead National Monument, National Park Service, Department Of The Interior, Beatrice, NE

8.)  The Squam Conservation Internship / Fellowship, Squam Lakes Association, Holderness, NH

Squam Lakes Association PO Box 204, Holderness, NH 03245 (603) 968-7336 e-mail: The Squam Conservation Internship / Fellowship The purpose of this 12 week fellowship is to give future conservation leaders the skills and experience needed to effectively move onto the next professional level while at the same time helping the Squam Lakes Association (SLA) with our conservation mission. This program will provide hands on conservation work experience and certifications over a broad range of activities. Fellows will serve as campsite hosts and caretakers at our back-country campsites, help with the eradication of variable milfoil, perform water quality testing and monitoring, help with public education and outreach projects, perform conservation duties such as shoreline restoration and trail maintenance and construction, meet and greet lake users and educate them about the dangers of invasive species. Squam conservation Fellows will receive the following: 1. Scuba certification 2. Weed control diver certification 3. Weed watcher training 4. Lake Host certification 5. NH safe boating certification 6. First aid & CPR certification 7. Housing with kitchen facilities 8. Travel stipend (fellow location dependent) 9. Weekly Food stipend ($75) 10. Completion of fellowship award ($1500) Qualifications: 1. Candidate must be 18 years of age on or before June 1, 2012 2. Have a valid United States driver’s license 3. Be a competent swimmer and capable of swimming 500 yards 4. Should have snorkeling experience 5. Ability to carry and use heavy tools while hiking 6. Able to hike at least 8 miles in a day. 7. Available May 30th 2012 through August 2012. (end date negotiable) To apply for the Squam Conservation Fellowship send a cover letter describing why you would be the ideal candidate and what attracted you to this fellowship along with a resume by April 6th, 2012 to: Squam Lakes Association: Squam Conservation Fellowship PO Box 204 Holderness, NH 03245 Or email your resume (PDF or DOC format please) to

***  From Mark Sofman:

9.)  Hatchery Superintendent, NC Wildlife Resource Commission, Burke County, NC

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