Greetings All! Rather than my usual format of describing specific projects occurring on the Pisgah, this month I want to take the opportunity to provide some clarity on the specifics of how volunteering works with the Forest Service.

If you’ve ever considered volunteering for Pisgah, you may have some burning questions. What is required by the Forest Service for volunteer activities? How can I volunteer? What types of volunteer work are available? Who do I contact if I’m interested in volunteering? Where does The Pisgah Conservancy fit in?

Wonder no more! The information and infographic below will help shed light on the process and will give you the tools to bring your efforts and skills to bear in the most fitting and fulfilling way for both you and for Pisgah National Forest. 

Volunteering with the Pisgah Ranger District: How it Works

First, a little policy background and District context. All volunteers on the Pisgah Ranger District are managed through formal agreements. These agreements enable the District to provide clear expectations, disperse required safety materials, and track volunteers and their accomplishments. They also provide volunteers with protections in case they get hurt in the course of volunteering. The agreements are created for either individuals or groups that would like to volunteer on the forest.

Most of the volunteer agreements on the Pisgah District are with groups. Frequently, the best way for an individual to pitch in and participate in volunteer work on the Pisgah is to work with one of these groups that have existing agreements with the Forest Service. This allows for greater efficiency in dispersing information and organizing activities, as well as the opportunity for individual volunteers to join a network of established Pisgah volunteers sharing mutual interests and passions. Most of these groups are created around volunteer interest in a certain task, feature, or type of use of the resource.

One huge benefit to these groups is that they have established infrastructures that help to streamline the volunteering and planning process, allowing great opportunities for the individual volunteer to get into volunteering quickly and smoothly with guidance from those in the know. Check out the list of volunteer groups below and see if they match your interests and passions in volunteering.

Pisgah Volunteer Infographic

 

Volunteering with The Pisgah Conservancy

In addition to the volunteer agreements, the District also has broader agreements with formal partners, including The Pisgah Conservancy. The agreement with TPC enables us to independently organize and manage volunteers using agency standards and procedures. Volunteers with Pisgah Conservancy are still part of the greater District volunteer force, and TPC is just one of many groups that provides greater efficiency in the management of the volunteer program.

Typically, TPC organizes specific ongoing work projects addressing District priorities and individual workdays that are open to the public to encourage engagement with intermittent or single-day volunteers. Past opportunities have included non-native invasive species removal at Sycamore Flats, red spruce sapling planting along Flat Laurel Creek, and riverbank restoration at Graveyard Fields. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, these workdays have been put on hold for the immediate time being, but we hope to begin offering them once we are safely able to do so. Future workday opportunities will be posted on the Pisgah Conservancy website.

If you are interested in volunteering, please review the infographic to find what volunteer group may be the right fit for you. Contact information for each group can be found below. If none of them seem to be a good match, please reach out to Natalie Lester, the Pisgah Ranger District’s Volunteer and Partnerships Coordinator. She can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 828-713-6560

 

Volunteer Group Contact Information


Visitor Services
FIND Outdoors: Pisgah Visitor Center: Email Connie Mero at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
FIND Outdoors: Cradle of Forestry: Email Clay Wooldridge at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Trash Clean Up
Waterfall Keepers: https://www.waterfallkeepersofnc.org/volunteer/
Transylvania County: Leave It Better Campaign: https://explorebrevard.com/clean-up-crew/
Individuals and Groups: Email Natalie Lester at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Fish and Wildlife Habitat
Trout Unlimited: https://pisgahtu.org/
If interested in the Muskie Club or Fish and Wildlife Conservation Council, please email Natalie Lester at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Gardening
Transylvania County Extension Office: Master Gardeners Program: https://transylvania.ces.ncsu.edu/categories/lawn-garden/extension-master-gardener-volunteers/

Trail Maintenance
Carolina Mountain Club: https://www.carolinamountainclub.org/
Pisgah Area SORBA: https://www.pisgahareasorba.org/
Carolina Climbers Coalition: https://carolinaclimbers.org/
Backcountry Horsemen: https://www.bchofnc.org/chapters/pisgah

*Campground host positions are managed by Adventure Pisgah, the concessionaire for Pisgah District campgrounds. Available positions can be found at https://adventurepisgah.com/job-opportunities
More information on volunteering for the Forest Service can be found at http://usfsoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Guide-USDA-Forest-Service-Volunteer-Services.pdf