Antelope Island park looking for volunteers

Sep 10 2011 - 11:11pm

ANTELOPE ISLAND -- Maintaining 28,000 acres of park, a visitor's center, a historic ranch house and 30 miles of trails takes many hands.

Antelope Island State Park, with 14 full-time staff members and about 70 active volunteers, needs more help to handle all the work on the island, Antelope Island State Park Naturalist Wendy Wilson said.

"We would like to add about 30 or 40 new volunteers. That would be ideal," Wilson said.

Park officials are working with the Davis County Office of Community and Economic Development in an effort to reach that goal.

The park uses volunteers at its visitors' center, the historic Fielding-Garr Ranch House and to help maintain the island trails and prevent them from becoming a mess, Wilson said.

"Volunteers are vital to our operation," she said.

Salt Lake City residents Joyce L. Brown, and husband Benjamin, have served as volunteers on the island for 20 years.

"It's a different world. It's like stepping into the past," Brown said of being out on the island. "I love the island. I have been in love with Antelope Island before we could even go there."

Brown, who volunteers at the ranch house and visitors center, said working on the island allows her to meet people from around the world.

"We have seen unbelievable things," said Brown.

Other than family vacations, Brown said, she and her husband have never missed a shift.

"We love our volunteers," Davis County Community Development Specialist Neka Roundy said.

Roundy said the county and state parks are willing to work with volunteers when it comes to scheduling. Knowing the skills of individual volunteers, whether it be speaking a foreign language or operating a tractor, will help place them in a position where the individual can best utilize their talents.

"We want them to be happy," Roundy said.

The state is asking volunteers to work a minimum of four hours a month, the equivalent of one shift at the center or ranch house, Wilson said.

Volunteers working the trails are asked to work a minimum of 10 hours a month, she said.

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