TRUCKEE, Calif. (June 14, 2022) - Visit Truckee-Tahoe announces a major expansion of the Sustainable Truckee Ambassador program for summer 2022 made possible by more funding partners, doubling the number of Staff Ambassadors, plus the launch of a new volunteer program.
Operated and administered by the Truckee Trails Foundation (TTF), the Sustainable Truckee Ambassador program now includes a three-tiered volunteer program for local residents and anyone in the world (visitors alike) to help protect our community from wildfire danger, educate outdoor recreation users, and mitigate excessive trash. Staff Ambassadors, who are employees of TTF, will increase from three in summer 2021 to seven. In addition to Visit Truckee-Tahoe funding, Town of Truckee, Truckee Fire Protection District and Nevada County (pending June 28th Supervisor meeting) are contributors.
“With everyone’s eyes and ears on trails, beaches, OHV roads and paved paths, we can all help protect Truckee from wildfire danger, trash and unsafe recreation behaviors,” said Colleen Dalton, CEO of Visit Truckee-Tahoe. “People talking to people has proven to be the most effective way to cultivate a safe and caring culture in an era of digital overload.”
“We received great feedback from the trailhead ambassador interactions last year, and are excited that this resource is expanding this summer,” said Erica Mertens, Keep Truckee Green program manager for the Town of Truckee.
With expectations for another busy summer, the goal is to prevent wildfires and to educate and welcome all people who enjoy the outdoors. Coverage this summer expands beyond the 36 trail signage locations of last year to Town of Truckee scenic paved paths in addition to Tahoe National Forest OHV roads towards Prosser, Boca, and Stampede. Staff Ambassadors will ride new mountain e-bikes funded by Visit Truckee-Tahoe for rapid access to more remote areas. Locals will recognize Sustainable Truckee trailhead signs with a focus on three messages: safety between hikers and bikers, pack out trash and poop, and wildfire danger.
In addition, Truckee citizens are encouraged to join a community of Sustainable Truckee Ambassadors as volunteers. Three volunteer opportunities are available all summer long, providing different levels of participation for everyone who wishes to get involved: Volunteer Ambassador, Secret Steward, and Virtual Fire Lookout Ambassador.
“We heard from so many locals asking about how they can help. Truckee Trails Foundation is excited about creating the new volunteer program with our partners Visit Truckee-Tahoe and Town of Truckee participating in the creative thought process,” said Allison Pedley, Executive Director of Truckee Trails Foundation.
As critical boots on the ground during peak periods, Staff and Volunteer Ambassadors will be trained to identify and report fire danger to the corresponding land management agency or dial 9-1-1 if a threat is real and imminent. Scheduling and trail coverage will be managed by TTF. Staff Ambassadors carry satellite communicators for emergency communications in trail areas that are known cell service dead zones.
An easy, DIY volunteer opportunity is “Secret Stewards.” This role is for everyone who hikes and bikes their favorite trails, on their own time, and who would like to report back on conditions that need attention.
Virtual Fire Lookout Ambassadors will help by keeping an eye on ALERTWildfire lookout cams for fire or smoke. Cams are on www.visittruckeetahoe.com/weather.
“There have been some great success stories of volunteers setting up watch groups to monitor the ALERTWildfire camera system and reporting the first sign of small, developing smoke columns to 911. Early detection, dispatch, and rapid response sets firefighters up for operational success” said Eric Horntvedt, Wildfire Prevention Manager for Truckee Fire Protection District.
Sustainable Truckee Ambassadors (Staff and Volunteers) will receive training on Monday, June 20th, 5:00-6:00pm at Truckee River Regional Park picnic tables next to the skate park and playground, located at 10050 Brockway Road in Truckee. Facilitators from Truckee Fire, USFS, Truckee Trails Foundation and Visit Truckee-Tahoe will be present. Ambassadors receive a Sustainable Truckee Ambassador t-shirt, name tag and a signup schedule for available shifts to rove trails, beaches, piers, paved paths and OHV roads.
“After June 20th, on-demand training will be available in addition to Ambassador meetups to cultivate community and teamwork, as well as hear feedback on data collection and ways to improve the program,” said Kim Jean, TTF Ambassador Coordinator.
“We are seeking to foster an inclusive, welcoming outdoors in a respectful and compassionate way - inviting trail users to take care of the land and be fire-safe,” stated Siobhan Kenney, Director of Sustainable Tourism for Visit Truckee-Tahoe.
Sign up and learn more about Sustainable Truckee Ambassador Staff and Volunteer positions at www.VisitTruckeeTahoe.com/ambassador. Spanish speakers are needed.
The Sustainable Truckee Ambassador program is a collaborative partnership made possible by several key organizations. Both Staff and Volunteer Ambassadors are managed by Truckee Trails Foundation, with primary funding from Visit Truckee-Tahoe’s Sustainable Truckee initiative. Additional funding comes from the Town of Truckee and Truckee Fire Protection District. Nevada County is expected to contribute funding, to be determined at the June 28th Supervisor meeting.