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The Dirt Crew during a training session with Life Flight. 

Are you ready to trade your ski boots in for hiking shoes or itching to crush some dirt on your bike or 4-wheeler right about now? You're not the only one. What you're not looking forward to, however, is running into or seeing what's left in the wake of trail users who literally don't have a clue. You know who they are, the people who are needlessly loud, litter, ignore trail conditions leave their dog poop on the trail--the list could go on forever. With the growing number of trail users at Wasatch Mountain State Park many people need to be educated about trail ethics and etiquette, location of trails, and park fees. You can be part of the solution by joining the park's Dirt Crew.

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Dirt Crew volunteers helping with trail maintenance.

So what is Dirt Crew and what do they do? Think of Dirt Crew as a sort of trail patrol minus any law enforcement. Essentially, Dirt Crew is just made up of people who love and regularly use the trail system. The only difference is that, as a Dirt Crew member, you'll get to wear an official shirt and name tag while you're out on the trail. Members of the Dirt Crew stop and talk to people when they meet them on the trail to say "hi," hand out maps, offer directions, park info, water, and so on. If you come across someone who is hurt, you phone it in. Dirt Crew members are also responsible for reporting trail conditions and maintenance needs to park rangers and have the option of participating in trail clean-up and work days.  "The Dirt Crew volunteers are a vital link to the park staff because they are the eyes and ears on the trails," says Park Ranger and Naturalist Kathy Donnell. "We can't get out on every trail everyday so having the Dirt Crew out there helps us reach and educate the growing number of trail users about the park, trail ethics, and park rules."

Between May and September, Dirt Crew volunteers are expected to provide just 10 hours of service per month, though you can continue into winter if you're around and want to. During those hours, you'll be on the trail, doing what you love and talking to people when you run into them, educating and providing assistance if necessary. Anyone who is already a trail aficionado is a perfect candidate for joining the Dirt Crew. Last year, 25 dedicated volunteers put in 782 hours of dirt crew work between May and December, the bulk being done from May to August. The only stipulation is you have to be able to hike or ride a bike, horse, or OHV and be over the age of 14 (required age to volunteer in state parks). Volunteers under the age of 16 need adult supervision.

Wasatch Mountain State Park is hosting their first annual Dirt Crew training session (with Life Flight helicopter) on April 28th from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Wasatch Mountain State Park Visitor Center. The session, though not required, is highly recommended. For more information and to RSVP please contact kathydonnell@utah.gov or call 435.654.1791.

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