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Contact: Kyle Patterson, 970-586-1363
One of Rocky Mountain National Park’s stellar volunteer groups, the Road Hogs, is one of the National Park Service’s winners of the 2008 George B. Hartzog Award for Outstanding Volunteer Service. Superintendent Vaughn Baker presented the group with its award today.
Each year the National Park Service recognizes individual volunteers and volunteer groups, like the Road Hogs, from each of its seven regions. Rocky Mountain National Park is located in the Intermountain Region; it encompasses 91 National Park Service units in eight states from Montana to Texas.
The NPS created the George B. Hartzog Awards to honor volunteers for their hard work, draw attention to their vast skills and contributions, and to stimulate development of innovative projects and volunteer involvement. The intent of the awards is to distinguish those individuals and groups who give of their skills, talents, and time beyond the normal call of duty. The awards are named for former National Park Service Director George B. Hartzog, Jr., who established the Volunteers-In-Parks program in 1970.
The Road Hogs volunteer group works every Monday, year round and performs a variety of tasks from installing and removing snow fences every year to hazard tree removal in service to Rocky Mountain National Park visitors.
In 2007, the group played an essential role in completing the land swap agreement between the park and MacGregor Ranch. They not only removed 2,267 feet of buck and rail fence from within the former park limits but they constructed 6,358 feet of new buck and rail fence along the updated boundary. The fence was erected to prevent MacGregor Ranch livestock from grazing on park lands and to keep park visitors from inadvertently wandering onto private land.
The Road Hogs harvested the enormous amount of timber materials required for this fence from a fire mitigation/fuel reduction project within the park. Ironically, the fuel reduction work was also completed by the Road Hogs. Then they removed the existing fence line with great care so the bucks and rails could be reused to construct the new fence. Finally they built 6,358 feet of buck and rail fence from scratch.
The project site was about a half-mile from any roads or trailheads; the Road Hogs carried by hand the fencing material up steep, arduous terrain.
The project was completed ahead of schedule. Considering the group works only one day per week and was responsible for other projects simultaneously, made this accomplishment even more remarkable.
Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the nation’s most visited parks. Volunteers play a vital role in helping visitors enjoy the park. Last year, 1,364 volunteers contributed 107,391 hours to a myriad of park programs.