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Friday, May 31, 2013

Volunteer Opportunity: Ground-Truthing!

What is Ground-Truthing?

Ground-Truthing: Collecting factual information about a specific area by actually visiting that area.  Ground-Truthing provides fact-finding support by documenting information regarding management, maintenance, current conditions, and apparent use of forest roads.

Why is Ground-Truthing Important?
Does this look like a road?
 In all of our wildlands campaigns it is essential that we have the ability to confidently demonstrate and justify the inclusion of lands within our wilderness proposals.

Oftentimes, what is labeled as a “road” on a map is not an accurate representation of what actually exists in real life.  That road may have been converted to a trail.  It may have been officially or unofficially decommissioned and is no longer passable by vehicle.  That road may not have seen any human visitors in decades and it may be 100% overgrown and impossible to find.  The information gathered during Ground-Truthing trips is often the most current data available about these “roads” and that is invaluable for our wildlands campaigns.

How can volunteers help?
Over the past two years, volunteers have chipped away at our long list of “roads” by taking photos and recording notes about current conditions. 

Could your car or truck drive on this?
Examples of what volunteers may be asked to document include: visible road maintenance and/or degradation, off road vehicle damage, bridge site materials, inventories of culverts on roads, signs of human visitation (campsites, shooting ranges, illegal dumping, etc.), evidence of wildlife, and whether or not the road still exists. 

We have specific places that we need volunteers to Ground-Truth, so this isn’t a project that one can undertake independently.  Currently all of our Ground-Truthing needs are on the Olympic Peninsula in support of the Wild Olympics Campaign. 

Wild Olympics Campaign Ground-Truthing Stats:
This is definitely not a road! 
2011-2012 Accomplishments
7 volunteers ground-truthed 23 segments of “road” and hiked 62 miles in the process

Remaining for 2013
10 segments of “road” and approximately 26 miles of hiking remain – it would be excellent to complete the remaining segments this summer.

How can you get involved with 
The best way to get involved is to attend a volunteer training.  These trainings will provide information about where and how to Ground-Truth, how to be safe while on a Ground-Truthing trip, and how to return the data to Washington Wild once you are home.  

Upcoming Training Opportunities
·         Thursday June 6th
·         Saturday July 13th
More information about both trainings can be found here

To RSVP for either training or to ask questions, contact or
call our office at 206-633-1992.

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