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Department Programs : Volunteer Trail Lookout Program

Program  Interested citizens are recruited to volunteer as Trail Lookouts. Volunteers are assigned a particular Open Space or Natural Reserve to make regular hike patrols, follow a predetermined route, and maintain assigned duties.

Purpose  The Trail Lookouts will assist the Ranger Service by providing an additional presence in City Open Spaces. These extra pairs of eyes will help ensure that Open Space itself, and those who use it, are properly protected.

Applying  To become a VTL you must meet the following criteria:

  • 18 years of age and older (minors must have written parental consent)

  • Illustrate the ability to walk continuously for approximately one hour

  • Demonstrate the ability to walk on a diversity of trail conditions

  • Become CPR/First Aid certified before beginning patrol

In addition, it will be essential for all VTL to:

  • Complete obligatory training

  • Update CPR/First Aid certification

  • Know and follow park rules and regulations

  • Complete trail lookout patrol logs each week

  • Demonstrate appropriate communication skills

  • Spend no less than 2 hours per week patrolling their designated area

Interested individuals should submit an application and complete a background check. Once your background checks returns clear, the Ranger Service will preview the application for approval. As a trail lookout you may volunteer for the open space area of your choice. However, if there is a necessity for a lookout in another area, you might be asked to patrol in that area. The final process for acceptance into the program would be to complete the brief training, given by one of the Park Rangers. During this orientation, one would be judged on the following:

  • Communication skills

  • Knowledge of park rules and regulations

  • Ability to complete the set route of patrol

Locations  Trail Lookouts would be trained for the following Open Space and Natural Reserves, and any major future additions to the system:

  1. South Hills Open Space

  2. Laguna Lake Open Space

  3. Reservoir Canyon Natural Reserve

  4. Bishop Peak Natural Reserve

  5. Charles A. & May R. Maino Open Space/San Luis Mountain Natural Reserve

Duties  Trail lookouts will commit regularly to a minimum of two, one hour patrols per week. Of course, trail lookouts may perform any additional number of patrols they wish, and/or be accompanied by other lookouts. The goal will be to have at least three patrols per week in each area, one by a ranger and two by lookouts. Lookouts will follow a set route, complete patrol logs, and perform those duties as requested by the Ranger Service.

For more information, contact Doug Carscaden, Senior Park Ranger at (805) 781-7302


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