[Courtesy photo]

Grand County’s Trail Ambassadors station themselves at popular trailheads during busy seasons to help spread messages about responsible recreation and safety. In 2022, the stewards counted over 57,000 encounters with the public; they engaged in 36,500 conversations to promote behaviors like staying on the trail and protecting biocrust; packing out trash; and planning ahead and disposing of human waste properly. They also shared information aimed at “search and rescue prevention”: for example, they discussed hydration, route choices, and cliff jumping. 

Trail Ambassador Ashley Harris staffs a trailhead information table. [Courtesy Grand County Trail Ambassadors]

Responsible Recreation Program Coordinator Anna Sprout described her team as “creative and talented educators” and said she is “very proud” to work with them. They spent 1,375 hours on the trail between March and October. 

The Trail Ambassador Program has components tailored to hikers, mountain bikers and, new this past year, rock climbers. 

“We’re excited to see this program grow in 2023,” Sprout said. Another goal for the coming year, Sprout said, is to expand the program to include outreach to motorized trail users. 

Sprout said there are volunteer opportunities coming up in March, where people can contribute to reporting on trail conditions and offering trail education. Those interested can follow @moabtrailmix on Instagram. Once spring hits, she encourages folks to meet the Trail Ambassadors at Mill Creek, Corona Arch and Grandstaff trailheads; in the meantime, she said, fans can email their county representatives to express support for the program.