Getting Involved in Community Outdoor Programs

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By Calindra Revier | Published April 28, 2022

Where to Begin

With an area as active as Park City, there are many opportunities to get involved in a community outdoor program. You can donate your time, money, or physical labor depending on what you have to offer. Many organizations can also utilize your special skills, such as bookkeeping, photography, media, or writing. Are you in need of a little fresh air every day? Then you can volunteer to walk dogs for a shelter. Do you enjoy being around people or part of a team? Then volunteer for the Mountain Trails Foundation during one of their fundraising race events or trail cleanups.

If you are just getting started and need some guidance, here is a short list of suggestions to start you off:

  1. Think about what causes are important to you
  2. Ask yourself what type of resources you have and what you can offer 
  3. Research local initiatives in your area
  4. Reach out and sign up
  5. Set aside time and plan volunteer days
  6. Build friendships, community, and a sense of purpose

In Park City alone there are so many programs that are doing excellent work. If you know of a nonprofit that supports a cause you’re passionate about, reach out to them and get involved.

A Few of the Stellar Outdoor Programs in Summit County

If you enjoy riding or hiking the trails here in Park City, then you likely know about the Mountain Trails Foundation, which builds, maintains, and protects recreation trails in Park City. They also build community involvement by hosting races, trail cleanups, and dig days. By working closely with government entities and other local advocacy groups like the Summit Land Conservancy, the Mountain Trails Foundation helps maintain one of the largest trail system in the country.

The National Ability Center has been a staple of the Park City area for almost 40 years, and is a national leader in adaptive sports and recreation. They frequently have training sessions for volunteers. You can train to be an equestrian leader, archery assistant, or get involved in many other fun outdoor recreation programs designed to support individuals of all abilities. They also host a variety of successful fundraising events throughout the year, such as the Summit Challenge bike ride at the end of August. With courses ranging from one to 100 miles in length, there is something for everyone at all ability and experience levels.

Another nonprofit doing amazing work is the Summit Land Conservancy, which protects open spaces and monitors the community’s investment in those lands. They work with the city to create ‘permanent conservation easements’. A list of lands they protect is provided below this article. In addition to their guided Moon Shine Adventures where you can learn about the land by hiking, biking, and skiing, the youth outdoor adventures and camps are their most popular and fill up quickly.

A Few More…

Park City has a unique recycling program focused on helping people to lead more sustainable lives. The Recycle Utah Center hosts a variety of trash cleanups and other important community events, including programs teaching people about recycling, hazardous waste collection, and a workshop on reducing your water footprint with upcycled rain barrels.

Started by Jans founder, Jan Peterson, in 1980, the Jans Winter Welcome is one of the longest-running annual fundraising events in Park City. Members of the Park City community come together with the winter sports industry to mingle with Olympic athletes and raise money for youth sports. Proceeds go to the Youth Sports Alliance, a nonprofit created by Jans president and CEO Russ Coburn, which helps Park City kids participate in sports programs. Mark your calendars for October and make sure you pick up your tickets early!

Christine Coleman is the vice president of communications and marketing at the Park City Community Foundation. She says nonprofit events are a fun way to get involved and start to connect with your community. The PC Community Foundation hosts a variety of community fundraisers and events throughout the year. One shining example is Live PC Give PC, which raises money for local nonprofits. Last year they raised 4.4 million from over 6,000 donors. This year’s Live PC Give PC will be hosted on November 4th, so stay tuned!

A volunteer clearing a trail during a Mountain Trails Foundation event in August 2021

The Benefits of Outdoor Volunteer Work are Numerous

Park City is a special place with an abundance of outdoor recreation opportunities. Volunteering can give people a greater sense of purpose and connection to their community, and these experiences can enrich their lives for the better. Studies show that helping others can increase our overall happiness, improve self esteem, and even reduce stress. We should all aim to do something that will get us outside, and giving back to the community and the precious lands we all enjoy is a win-win.

By Calindra Revier, Content Writer and Media,

Additional links:

Jans Community Outreach Page

Youth Sports Alliance

Jans Winter Welcome

Park City Community Foundation