September 24, 2008
Describe the Donner Party Hike.
The upcoming hike is the 16th annual ” only I have been there that long. I was a coordinator/volunteer which was a little more work, but it [the coordination] is subcontracted now. Different hikes highlight different historical events. The two-day event covers the history of the corridor from Truckee to Donner Lake to the Yuba River, from 1844 to the present. The first pioneer wagon route was two years before the Donner Party. The hike is branded the Donner Party Hike for recognition, in reality the Donner Party is a small part, there is so much additional history. Basically, we talk about the history of a corridor not more than a mile wide. A main remark I hear from participants is they have driven by hundreds of times, but had little information about the history here.
What are your duties as a volunteer?
Currently, I am one of about two to three dozen volunteer guides, including the herders, who bring up the rear. I am a senior guide, having done all of the hikes. I am the godfather of the guides, others turn to me for information.
What type of training and experience do guides need?
They go through volunteer training. You can be a herder with little or no experience, you do need a level of fitness, carry first aid, water and a cell phone. If you are a guide, let’s say there is about five and 10 hours of historical research, we provide the materials. In addition to the pot pourri of material, you need to participate in practice hikes. Some carry 3×5 cards with facts, and hiking with us you glean information. It’s not computer science.
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How do you feel about volunteerism?
It goes without saying it’s invaluable. I don’t think of the Donner Party Hike as volunteerism, because it’s so fun. I love it, I’ve been here 20 years, and am impressed by the volunteers ” in the police force, parent volunteers in school. Volunteering is a big effort, yet totally indispensable. I also volunteer with the mountain safety program working at Sugar Bowl.
Would you like to add anything in reference to the hike?
In conclusion, I would like to see, from a personal standpoint, more Truckee residents participate in the hike. I think they miss a lot because they think they know the history ” their love and enjoyment of the area would be deepened. This hike could be the same thing as the Fourth of July Parade as far a community spirit.
– For information about the Donner Party Hike, visit http://www.truckee.com or call 587-8808.
“The Sierra Sun’s Amy Edgett interviewed Greg Palmer for this week’s “Volunteer Corner.” Please send your suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org, subject Volunteer Corner. For volunteer opportunities in the North Tahoe Truckee area, visit handsontahoe.org.