Kristy Wumkes is Partnership Coordinator for the Canyon Lakes Ranger District of the Roosevelt National Forest. She was named the Forest Service 2012 Volunteer Coordinator of the Year by U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell.

With more than 900 annual volunteers on the Canyon Lakes Ranger District, Wumkes’s extraordinary outreach and commitment has directly expanded the Forest Service volunteer program over the last 17 years. Her innovative efforts resulted in 51,636 volunteer hours donated to the district, valued at over $1.1 million, in 2012. These 51,636 hours are approximately 1.8% of the 2.8 million aggregate volunteer hours for the agency nationwide last year.

Wumkes’s focus on community needs and interests gave rise to the development of new partnerships such as the Diamond Peaks Mountain Bike Patrol and Poudre River Rangers, and greatly expanded existing programs such as Adopt-A-Trail, Cameron Pass Nordic Rangers, and Deadman Fire Tower Volunteers. She manages a variety of long term partner-programs such as Diamond Peaks National Ski Patrol, Northern Colorado Mounted Patrol, Overland Mountain Bike Club, Wildland Restoration Volunteers, and the Redfeather and Arrowhead Visitors Centers, to name a few.

“I love working with our volunteers, their passionate enthusiasm for public lands stewardship is contagious,” says Wumkes. “The Forest Service owes a debt of gratitude to our volunteers because without them so much would be left undone. Trail volunteers maintain 40 percent of the district’s 360 miles of trails, patrol volunteers contact over 8,000 people in the backcountry each year, and our remote visitor centers would be closed without volunteer summer hosts.”

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A Girl Friday (and Monday?) for Everyone

As a rule, administrators of volunteer programs are an over-worked, dedicated, and under-staffed lot. We're told that we have all the resources we need, because after all, how hard can it be to run the program? And if work starts piling up, we can just get a helper. A volunteer helper. Riiight. I have to…

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