Bear Creek Lake Park is a big place, and it takes a lot of people to keep the 2,600 acres in the best condition for visitors.
So for the eighth year, park rangers hosted a volunteer fair on March 7, at the Bear Creek Lake visitor center.
“I don’t know how we’d run the park without them,” said park ranger Jody Morse. “We’re looking for people with a willingness and time to give their time.”
Lakewood residents and outdoor enthusiasts learned about the different volunteer areas, like mountain bike patrol, trail crew and wildlife monitors, hose patrol and naturalists and park stewards.
“We have just eight full-time staff members here at the park,” said Drew Sprafke, Lakewood’s regional parks supervisor. “With volunteers, we’re able to have an extra presence in parks, and it allows staff to tackle projects we wouldn’t get to otherwise.”
The park needs volunteers year-round, Morse explained, especially with Earth Day, National Trails Day and the busy summer months all coming down the pike.
“I’ve been volunteering at the park for a little more than a year,” said Dina Klancir, one of the park’s mountain bike patrollers, who was on hand to answer questions about donating time to Bear Creek Lake.
“We ride the trails to check conditions and remind people about trail etiquette, among other things,” she said. “We also like to share things people may not know — like it’s actually bikers who are supposed to yield to hikers, not the other way around.”
During the fair, the trail crew and wildlife monitor station was the most popular, probably because it means people get to look for wildlife, Morse said. For others, the fair was just a chance to see what kind of opportunities are out there.
“I’ve never been here before,” said Lakewood resident Linda King. “But I was just curious what options were available.”