Go Mt. Charleston: Explore, Learn and Volunteer

By Katherine Fernelius

Go Mt. Charleston: Explore, Learn, Volunteer is a recently launched campaign to get Las Vegas locals more connected with the vast outdoor experience the Spring Mountains have to offer. We sat down with Suzanne Hicks of the Southern Nevada Conservancy/U.S. Forest Service to find out what this project has in store for our community and how we can get involved, take advantage, and protect this natural resource in our backyard.

Las Vegas Woman: What is Mt. Charleston’s new campaign “Go Mt. Charleston: Explore, Learn, Volunteer” about? What is its message? What are the goals of the campaign and when did it start?

Suzanne Hicks: The Go Mt. Charleston project was created to help the Las Vegas community better enjoy and care for the Spring Mountains National Recreation Area, more commonly known as Mt. Charleston. Our mission is to provide opportunities for people to explore and learn about this natural resource and to encourage stewardship of the area through volunteer programs.

LVW: Let’s break down the campaign. There are three parts: Explore, Learn and Volunteer. Can you tell us about each part and what sorts of programs, activities and/or volunteer work are included in each part?

SH: We chose these three words as the tagline to describe the three main ways people might experience the mountain.

Explore: Through our website and social media we provide information for people who want to explore Mt. Charleston. Our site serves as a comprehensive resource for people to help them plan their trip and find the experience they are looking for when they visit.

Learn: Through our education programs we offer a wide range of opportunities for people to learn about the Spring Mountains. We hope that through our programs, people will not only have fun and learn about the mountains, but also walk away with a greater respect for the mountain ecosystem leading to a desire to help take care of this public natural resource.

Volunteer: Through all of our efforts we are striving to create a feeling of stewardship for the Spring Mountains among the Las Vegas community. This is a wonderful natural resource for the public and we all need to do our part to take care of it. We need volunteers for various positions including trail hosts to help hikers; visitor center hosts to help provide information to visitors, volunteers to help pick up litter and keep the mountains clean, and, in the winter, snow hosts to help people have fun and be safe while playing in the snow. There are also simple things that everyone can do to make a difference like taking your trash with you after a picnic or taking care not to disturb plant or animal life while hiking.

LVW: What sorts of activities are included in this program?

SH: Part of what we do is to provide programs to the public to help them explore and learn about the Spring Mountains. Our programs include guided day and night hikes, campfire programs, guided snowshoe hikes in the winter, and special programs for kids including junior ranger and science safaris. All programs are currently free to the public.
We also (host) our annual Spring Cleaning event. This past May was the fifth year we’ve had the event. More than 169 volunteers picked up more than 2,230 pounds of litter. This event is made possible through the partnership and support from other various private and nonprofit organizations.

LVW: How can people get involved?

SH: People can see the schedule of programs on our website, gomtcharleston.com.
People can also stay in touch with us through social media by liking us on Facebook, facebook.com/gomtcharleston and following us on Twitter, twitter.com/gomtcharleston. Those interested in volunteering can check out opportunities on the website or send an inquiry to volunteer@gomtcharleston.com.

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