Volunteers to begin observing 910 Cattle Ranch for Summit County
Residents can now sign up to be a 910 Cattle Ranch ambassador to help protect the 8,600 acres Summit County recently acquired.
“To uphold our stewardship values, and to make sure no illegal activities are being done on the property, we're enlisting our ambassadors just to be out there so the word gets out that we have eyes on the property,” County Lands & Natural Resources Director Jess Kirby said.
The 910 has seen its fair share of poaching problems in the past. Just last month someone beheaded a bull elk for the rack and left the body to waste on the property.
910 ambassadors’ main task is to report signs of that sort of illegal activity.
For their safety, Kirby said volunteers will be instructed not to approach anyone suspected of a crime. The county will provide first aid kits and Garmin InReach devices, and ambassadors will patrol in pairs. They can use horses, skis, ATVs and their own two feet.
“These folks who have volunteered so far are very passionate about the land,” Kirby said. “A lot of them have a connection or have been in the area for many, many years.”
A Parkite of over three decades, Diane Rinehart said she volunteered to continue the tradition of care for the property.
“It’s precious land,” she said. “I think it has been under stewardship from a private party in a really profound, beautiful way for a long time.”
Rinehart’s previous long-distance hiking in areas like the Sierra Nevadas’ John Muir Trail and Himalayan Annapurna Circuit will serve her well, covering the ranch’s 8,600 acres.
“Those pieces of land, those really beautiful pieces, are there because they've had stewardship for a very long time: people who care, people who volunteer their time to make sure that those resources are protected and cared for,” Rinehart said.
At least 50 people have applied, and the county has accepted the first 25 who signed up. That shouldn’t discourage anyone interested from applying because Kirby said there may be more openings in the future.
Summit County is also considering citizen science initiatives, which could include counting animal populations, monitoring habitat or warding off noxious weeds.
Kirby said it’s going to take a village to help maintain a property as large as the 910 Ranch.
The volunteer sign-up form is summitcounty.info/volunteerambassador. The county asks volunteers for eight hours a month for at least six months and may run background checks on applicants.