King County Parks: An opportunity to serve
King County’s Park and Trail Ambassadors Program – and the Adopt-a-Park or -Trail Programs – allow the local community to enjoy the outdoors while serving, maintaining and stewarding their own Big Backyard.
Maintaining a network of 200 parks, 175 miles of regional trails, 215 miles of backcountry trails, and 28,000 acres of open space is a big challenge, and community volunteers help King County preserve these lands for visitors today and into the future. King County Parks receives on average 8,000 volunteers per year and, together, they donate more than 55,000 volunteer hours to improve parks, trails and open spaces. There are currently more than 60 active ambassadors across 28 parks.
“Park and Trail Ambassadors provide steadfast service by alerting staff to imminent safety issues and pertinent park or trail conditions,” said Laurie Clinton, Volunteer Program Manager for King County Parks. “They are a unique group of volunteers for King County Parks and we appreciate their time, effort, and care of their selected areas.”
People can volunteer through two different programs. Park and Trail Ambassadors commit 100 hours per year of their time to a specific site. They work with staff to meet the goals of the Parks and Recreation Division and uphold the policies and procedures of the organization. Tasks can vary depending on the person’s interest and include helping with or organizing volunteer events, picking up litter, brushing trails, building and maintaining backcountry trails, directing people to their desired paths, and giving time to special projects.
The Adopt-a-Park or -Trail program asks groups to make a commitment of three or four volunteer work party events per year. A work party can include brush clean-up, litter pick-up, tree planting, flower-bed weeding and/or planting, invasive weed removal, trail maintenance, monitoring restoration efforts, and much more.
Volunteers from both the Park or Trail Ambassadors and Adopt-a-Park or -Trail program remove more than 50 cubic yards of invasive weeds and maintain more than 5,000 miles of backcountry trails annually to provide an excellent system for recreation.
“Their reports and direct communication with staff on trail and park conditions are extremely helpful,” said Clinton. “Their wide array of service result in a tremendously beneficial impact to Parks and the community.”
Projects are open to individuals, schools, families, corporations, religious organizations and service organizations. There is also a monthly project newsletter, if you are interested in signing up for a work party update your preferences here.
King County Parks’ employees educate volunteers on the area they are helping to improve, how to stay safe, and what their contribution means to the region.
If you are interested in signing up for either program, or in volunteering for projects, please contact Volunteer Program Manager Laurie Clinton at Laurie.Clinton@kingcounty.gov.