In the spirit and action of giving back to the public lands that we love, the GCHBA organizes volunteer service projects in conjunction with the NPS (National Park Service).
Recently, the GCHBA has sponsored week-long volunteer service projects in March and October. March projects have been at Indian Garden and October projects at Bright Angel Campground.
Volunteers often camp in the group camp, so participant size is usually limited to 11 volunteers. We typically hike into The Canyon on a Tuesday (when then NPS mules travel into The Canyon) and out the following Tuesday.
Tasks are specified by the NPS and volunteers of the GCHBA supply the enthusiasm and help do the work.
Often, the NPS provides some mule support in the form of hauling food into the camp area for the project.
Example tasks include: Irrigation channel clean up, painting structures, benches, and signs, dam busting in Bright Angel Creek, trail work such as adding gravel to the trail, clearing brush. This work requires painting, bending, lifting, carrying hand equipment, digging with a shovel or hoe, and pushing a wheelbarrow for instance.
Knowledge and Skills Required
- Ability to operate and maintain hand tools.
- Ability to follow written and verbal instructions.
- Ability to work on uneven surfaces.
- Ability to live and work from a backcountry camp for extended periods.
- Ability to hike 10 miles in and out of the canyon with an elevation change of 5,000 ft
Plan to bring your backpacking gear (e.g., tent, bag, pad, stove, pots, fuel, etc.) and consider bringing work clothes and your favorite gloves.
As noted, those adorable NPS mules (and packers) typically transport 25 pounds of food per volunteer into The Canyon at the start of the project. Plan to place your food (non-perishable; no refrigeration available) in a 5-gallon bucket (such as those Homer (Home Depot) or Lowe plastic paint buckets – sold empty and clean with lid) and plan to place the bucket in an orange box. (There is not sufficient rat-proof storage room at the group camps.) If not packed out, I believe we can donate the buckets to the trail crew or the rangers.
It’s not all work – we plan to have fun, including a free hike day – to lounge and admire rocks made by time, hike to Ribbon Falls, up on Utah Flats to Phantom Creek, to the CCC Benches and beyond on the Clear Creek Trail, or the Miners’ Route – Old Bright Angel loop, etc.
Previous reports about GCHBA volunteer service projects can be seen at:
Let’s get psyched about some Canyon time and giving back to the public lands we love!
Rob Jones [email protected]
Project Coordinator and Grand Penultimate Poobah