The White River National Forest, all 2.3 million acres of it, is the most visited national forest in the nation with its 11 ski resorts, 10 peaks over 14,000 feet, and eight wilderness areas that cover more than a third of its acreage. And the Dillon Ranger District is a big part of it, located in Summit County and home to four ski resorts and thousands of acres of hiking and biking trails, rafting and kayaking opportunities and camping.
It’s a busy place, and it needs helpers and stewards now more than ever. That’s where the Friends of the Dillon Ranger District (FDRD) comes in, a nonprofit established in 2005 to partner with the U.S. Forest Service, in order to provide opportunities for the community to play a more active role in the sustainable management of the local forest and to enhance the experiences of all who recreate there.
“Our passionate community of volunteers and supporters are the best crew of individuals and local businesses on the planet,” says FDRD marketing and events manager Jennifer Vogler. “They motivate us to jump out of bed each day and get to work.”
This volunteer-driven and donation-supported organization has created a sense of community around the stewardship of this special place, and the shared love of the land. They bring together groups and individuals for trail and cleanup projects, educational events and social activities: from wildflower hikes to fence construction, geology tours to raptor demonstrations. One wildly successful annual fundraising event, Casino Night, is a historical sellout.
Jennifer adds that the organization’s superpower is transforming heavily damaged trails to beautifully constructed, sustainable trails that will last for generations to come. She urges everyone who lives in, or visits Summit County, to regularly consult the online calendar of events to get involved with the Friends of the Dillon Ranger District’s volunteer and educational series.
Learn more, Fdrd.org.