Wilderness Volunteers has been selected as the Volunteer Group of the Year by Yosemite National Park!

With over 9,500 volunteers donating their time and energy in Yosemite this year, it is a great honor to be chosen as the best of the year. We’re grateful for the hard work of all of our volunteer participants and especially the project’s leaders, Dean and Laurie Twehues. Victoria Hartman, Yosemite’s Wilderness Restoration Coordinator, recognizes the group by saying, “Your work is critical to the park’s ability to protect and preserve our rich natural and cultural heritage while providing meaningful and enjoyable experiences for our visitors.” All participants will be receiving a thank you gift from the Park as part of the award.

The award-winning WV Yosemite volunteers, June 2013. Photo by Dean Twehues

We just completed the 6th project in the Rancheria Falls area, in the Hetch Hetchy section of the Park. Our work includes removing and ecologically restoring inappropriate campsites, as well as removing non-native invasive species such as salsify, mullein and bull thistle from the Tiltill meadow, a remote high sierra valley with an abundance of wetlands and wildlife. The project requires volunteers to backpack in approximately 6.5 miles to base camp and an additional daily 6 mile roundtrip hike to get to the work site. Sadly, the Hetch Hetchy area is still being impacted by the massive Rim Fire, so we’re sure our volunteer stewardship work will be greatly needed in the coming years.

Photo of Hetch Hetchy taken on the WV service project in Yosemite, June 2013 by Lawrence Herko

Dave Pacheco and Paul Goldberg of the WV staff will be on hand in Yosemite to accept the award. The award ceremony will be held on National Public Lands Day – Saturday, September 28th at 4pm in front of the Valley Visitor Center, and will be followed by a raffle and live music as part of the Park’s 5-day Yosemite Facelift event. You are welcome to come celebrate with us! The 10th annual Yosemite Facelift is an effort to help clean-up the Park at the end of the busy summer season and runs from September 24 – 29.

Volunteers working in Yosemite, June 2013. Photo by George Ralston

See more photos from this project and more via the WV photo gallery.