FSVA News & Information


FSVA Equestrians Hard at Work

Equestrian Ranger

Equestrian Ranger Equestrian Ranger

equestrian ranger Equestrian Ranger

FSVA equestrian Rangers keep themselves and their horses ready for anything with regular training. Obstacle courses are designed to ready both horse and rider for the unexpected possibilities and potential dangers of the trail and parades.

A number of the nine riding the course this last Saturday were new equestrian trail volunteers who were anxious to get ready for the trail and a little in awe of what the parade unit needs to be prepared for.



FSVA Volunteer Trail Crew Tackles Jobs in the High Country

There's a lot of work to be done in the Wilderness!

From installing and maintaining waterbars, dealing with wind and water erosion to trails, repairing cutbacks, removal of illegal and dangerous fire rings, and cutting back overgrowth, to cross cutting and removing fallen trees, the FSVA Volunteer Trail Crew has been making an impact on the safety, traversability and beauty of our high country trails.

Led by Wilderness Manager Andy Smith and FSVA Wilderness Coordinator Rick Wilkerson, the intrepid volunteer Trail Crew has been regularly chipping away at critical trail maintenance issues all summer.This pilot program has proved very sucessful and will be expanded next year as more FSVA volunteers are trained in key trail maintenance skills.

Your FSVA volunteers hard at work in the High Country:

FSVA trail maintenance

FSVA trail maintenance

FSVA trail maintenance

FSVA trail maintenance

Trail maintenance FSVA


FSVA Dinner Celebrates 6,000 + Hours of Service

FSVA dinner

The FSVA Dinner at Town Hall on Saturday, Nov. 5 introduced the new board and celebrated the amazing contribution of more than 6,000 hours of service in fiscal year 2011 (which ended Sept. 30, 2011). Photo by Cid Castillo

The new FSVA Board of Directors for 2012:

  • Bob Romano, President
  • Mike Taggart, Vice President, Past President and Founder
  • Denise Edmiston, Treasurer
  • Barbara Youngman, Secretary
  • Helene Lohr, Board Member & Website Coordinator
  • Jana Desrocher, Board Member & Retail Store Coordinator
  • Rick Wilkerson, Board Member & Wilderness Coordinator
  • Mike McCann, Board Member & Equestrian/Packing Coordinator
  • Gale Salavati, Board Member
  • Karleen Esparza, Board Member & Equestrian Parade Unit Coordinator
Non-board member coordinators:
  • Steve Schwitters, Cross Cut Saw Trail Crew Team Coordinator
  • Norma Romano, Uniform Coordinator
  • Ron Krull, Assistant Wilderness Coordinator


FSVA Volunteers Gain NIA Interpretive Guide Certification

Jana Desrocher at the NIA Interpretive Guide Training

Jana Desrocher and Stacey Wellman at the NIA Interpretive Guide Certification

FSVA volunteers had the unique opportunity to attend the NIA Interpretive Guide Ceritification Course taught by Emily Hoerner at the Santa Rosa National Monument Visitor Center. Thanks again to our Wilderness ManagerAndy Smith for arranging this opportunity. It was an interesting and intense 4 days packed with information and live practice. The course was a strong preparation for implementing interpretive techniques on our district. Our FSVA volunteers will use this to create programs to promote the mission statement of the FSVA in support of the Forest Service. FSVA volunteers Jana Desrocher and Helene Lohr and USFS staff Dave Bentley and Stacey Wellman all passed their certification presentations with flying colors. Way to go!

Wilderness Ranger Academy 2011

Ranger Academy Wilderness First Aid Certification

In-depth Wilderness First Aid Certification course at Ranger Academy, 2011

Wilderness Ranger Academy was again a hugely valuable experience for our FSVA Wilderness Rangers. Every year, the Academy provides the opportunity for our dedicated volunteers to garner training and skills to further enrich our back-country experience and abilities. At the Academy, our Volunteer Wilderness Rangers have gained hands-on knowledge, experience and certifications in Cross Cut Saw, Wilderness First Aid,  Horse Packing, Leave No Trace and a multitude of other valuable certifications. We use these skills everyday to enhance and support our duties.

In attendance were: Bob Romano, Steve Schwitters, Tom Clem and Helene Lohr. Thanks to our Wilderness Manager Andy Smith for once again making this experience possible.

Desert Divide Gets New Signage

New Signage for Spitler Peak Trail, Desert Divide along PCT

Andy Smith and Eric Van Dien Installing the Signage at the PCT/Spitler Junction

Thanks to the joint efforts of our Wilderness Manager Andy Smith, Seasonal Employee Eric Van Dien, the Wilderness Rangers and our amazing Equestrian Packers we are well on the way to replacing all of the signage along the Desert Divide section of the PCT. Adequate signage is a critical necessity- especially for the influx of PCT thru hikers every year! Thanks again to our engaged Wilderness Manager Andy Smith for coordinating the timing and man and horsepower necessary for us to accomplish so much this year.

Volunteer Cross-Cut Team Keeps Trails Open.

Steve Schwitters on Cross Cut Saw Volunteer

Our newly certified Volunteer Cross-cut saw team of Steve Schwitters and Tom Clem have cleared over 80 trees this year (and counting)! They have been out cutting trees almost every single weekend since the winter. This would have been a time and resource drain for FS employees, but these crucial volunteer efforts allowed us to put a large dent in the maintenance work. Trails that would have been impassable until late spring are already clear for hiking and equestrian traffic. Many trees were blocking horses and forcing hikers to walk around- causing damage to the surrounding forest as they were forced to find new paths.

Great job guys!

Trail Maintenance Training a Hit

Andy Smith leading Trail Maintenance Workshop

Andy Smith, our Forest Service Liaison, and Stacey Wellman, Trails Technician, led a very popular Trail Maintenance Training day with our FSVA volunteers on Sat, March 19th.  This hands-on course covered trail maintenance basics, intro to tread, and building and cleaning water features. The interested volunteers watched a video outlining the critical info (available free to volunteers, contact asst. Wilderness Coord. Rick Wilkerson to get the link) and performed light trail maintenance on the Randall Henderson Trail throughout the afternoon.  

Andy has already lined up additional training opportunites for our volunteers in the near future- including gps workshops, another trail maintenance day and the potential to go to the "Ranger Academy" for a week in Bishop for interested and highly involved volunteers.

Let's all thank Andy and Stacey for being so active in taking the lead to help make us a more effective aid to the Forest Service in the Wilderness!

2011 Refresher Training for Volunteer Wilderness Rangers & Equestrians

2011 Ranger Refresher Training

The 2011 Refresher Training was held on Saturday, April 9th. This year the refresher training was offered on a separate date from the new volunteer orientation. Andy Smith, our awesome Wilderness Manager/Forest Service Liaison discussed key Wilderness & Safety concerns and important news in our district. Bob Romano, our V.P./Volunteer Wilderness Coordinator covered the changes to the volunteer handbook and important issues such as proper radio handling and hike/ride scheduling procedures.