NONE! We will provide all the work skills, training, and orientation you will need to volunteer with us. All we ask is that you come with an open mind, enthusiastic attitude, and willingness to work hard and get dirty!
We require all of our volunteers to become members of Grand Canyon Trust. Membership is a $50 donation per person (good for one year), and students (25 and under) may renew their membership for $25. We hope that by becoming members, our volunteers will stay engaged in the issues we work on before, during and after their volunteer experience. We provide food, “housing,” tools, and all group gear, as well as some personal camping gear for the days you'll be with us. The only other cost to your group is travel to and from project sites.
If your group is working on our North Rim Ranches, we base out of the North Rim Ranch headquarters, three hours north of Flagstaff, Arizona. The drive to North Rim Ranch is across a vast and beautiful landscape, the Navajo Reservation, over the Colorado River and into the House Rock Valley, which is essentially the North Rim of the Grand Canyon!
The Navajo and Hopi reservations are between one and two hours north/northeast of Flagstaff.
Our work in southern Utah is approximately 6.5 hours from Flagstaff.
We either all meet at our office in Flagstaff and carpool to our field site, or we meet at your designated project site.
Groups are responsible for providing their own transportation to and from the project site. This would likely involve airfare or gas if driving, rental vehicles for the week, food for your travel days and a night or two in the hostel in Flagstaff or hotel in Phoenix before/after the work week.
Housing on our trips is rustic and considered to be “car camping.” For groups working on the North Rim Ranches, the historic ranch house built in the 1870s will be our home for the week. While we encourage groups to camp outside in tents or out under the stars (you’ve never seen anything quite like the night sky in House Rock Valley) the small house, bunkhouse and wall tents have beds for 10 people and plenty of floor space as well. There is a full kitchen with running water, outdoor pit toilets and a shower.
Groups working with Native America, Utah, or other projects farther from the North Rim Ranch headquarters, will be car camping. We come fully equipped with a kitchen (literally everything but the kitchen sink) and outdoor toilet system, and have tents and camping gear to outfit a group of 15. We don’t want your group to shy away from a “camping style” volunteer trip. We guarantee an unforgettable experience for the seasoned camper, as well as those with no camping experience at all!
We generally like to have groups stay with us for four to five days, although shorter trips may be available, depending on the project. Three days are considered “work days” and we usually incorporate a beautiful hike into the fifth day that you’ll never forget! Some groups like to include a trip to the south rim of Grand Canyon either before or after our work week, and we are more than happy to help with logistics as well as camping fee waivers at the South Rim campgrounds.
Our ideal group size is 8–12 volunteers. Our work supplies, tools, and gear can accommodate this number easily, and we find this to be a perfect size to keep volunteers engaged and productive.
Here is an example of a schedule for an Alternative Spring Break group doing a project on the North Rim Ranches (8 days including travel time):
The post-trip project is an opportunity for your group to draw on their time with us and share with your home communities the contributions you made to Colorado Plateau conservation issues. This project is a requirement for groups that go on a Grand Canyon Trust volunteer trip. The presentation format is entirely up to you, but it should have three main components:
Safety of our volunteers is something the Trust takes very seriously. We have an extensive Risk Management Plan and all of our trip leaders are certified Wilderness First Responders. Assistant leaders have some level of wilderness medical training. During your group’s training and orientation, we will discuss project and camp safety issues to make sure we have a successful, enjoyable and accident-free week. Prevention is our best approach!
Some safety concerns to be aware of include: hypothermia, heat-related illness, injury from barbed wire/fencing work, insect bites/stings, rattlesnakes, sprains/strains, rockfall and hantavirus. Again, we will cover these topics with your group and prepare you for living and working in the desert.
We ask you to provide your own camping gear if possible. We do have a limited supply of gear that we are happy to lend, and we can accommodate groups of up to 15 people with tents, sleeping bags, and sleeping pads. Please check out the pack list on our website for what to bring with you.
The million dollar question! Groups often think, “We’re going to Arizona/Utah! Land of hot weather and sunshine!” Don’t be fooled. Weather in this part of the country is fickle and can include a little bit of everything anytime of the year. You may be working in a desert environment at 3,000 feet or up on a high sub-alpine plateau at 10,000 feet elevation, so the climate will vary greatly depending on your project location and time of year. Monsoon season on the Colorado Plateau runs from July through September, bringing daily thunderstorms. Some days the weather is warm and sunny and others cold and rainy or snowy, or all of the above. Your trip leader will inform you of the weather before your trip, which will help you plan how to pack. That said, plan for a range of weather conditions: hot, cold, rain and snow. Working in light rain or snow is not unheard of, but if the weather becomes unbearable, we will retreat to the ranch headquarters or our camp and find some other work or other fun group activities to do.