Photo of volunteers on the Ute Cr Trail

Volunteers are the heartbeat of the Forest Service. The types of work a volunteer can perform are many and varied. It is a program that has something for everyone - retirees, professionals, students, and young people, as well as service clubs and youth groups. Some volunteers work full-time for a short period of time, while others donate a few hours a day each week or contribute a one-time service. If you would like to volunteer for any of the projects listed on the linked pages in the right column, or would like to speak with someone regarding volunteering in general, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Why Volunteer?

The Rio Grande National Forest is a resource we all own, and volunteering is one way to take an active part of land management by being a steward of the land we all enjoy. Opportunities can range from a single-day project to a long-term undertaking lasting for several months. What captures your interest? Trail work, campground host, bird & wildlife surveys, invasive weed pulls, historic preservation, information receptionist, wilderness restoration, conservation education? There are many ways to transfer your love of the land to the management of the land.

There are multiple benefits to volunteering, such as...

  • Earning college credits through volunteer internships

  • Diversifying your job experience

  • Providing community service

  • Educating the public about natural resources

  • Meeting people and forming new friendships

  • Exercising while serving the land

  • Seeing new and exciting places

  • Having fun

    Volunteer Projects on the Rio Grande National Forest in 2021

    COVID-19 Update

    The forest Volunteer and Partnership Manager and forest leadership are working hard to determine safe ways for volunteers to engage with us in important stewardship efforts at this time. Please check back for updates about opportunities as they are scheduled.

    Details on all the projects, what work you’ll be doing, and a link to register can be seen at https://www.voc.org/volunteer. Many other stewardship projects all over the state are also listed on this webpage. Projects fill quickly and spots are available on a first-come first served basis.


    Divide Ranger District Seeks Campground Maintenance/Upkeep Volunteer!

    Click here to learn more about this great volunteer opportunity!


    Community-based stewardship projects:

  • Ongoing – high lake water sampling at remote alpine lakes on the Rio Grande National Forest.

  • Ongoing – Citizen Science data collection. Use iNaturalist to help us collect data on what is on the forest! Visit https://www.inaturalist.org/ to sign up. You can also join and contribute to these focus projects:

  • More to come! Check back for project information.


    How to get involved

    Contact Katie Goodleaf at kathryn.goodleaf@usda.gov or 719-852-6234.

    You can also sign up to be added to our SLV volunteering e-newsletter, hosted and shared by Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado. Be sure to check the box for “Upper Rio Wind (for San Luis Valley Volunteer Projects and General Info)” to be put on the right email list.

Key Contacts

Rio Grande National Forest
1803 W. Highway 160
Monte Vista, CO 81144

Volunteer Coordinator:
Katie Goodleaf 

719-852-6234   email: katie@voc.org