Be like a city employee, except ... not

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Over the last few years, the city has witnessed a lot of brown grass, free-flying trash, weeds and trail damage in its open spaces and parks.

Money has been spotty, and not all of the problems have been addressed adequately by the city. Thus, the city parks department and the Trails and Open Space Coalition have been working together since 2010 to train volunteers that could take up where city workers left off. The program is called the Open Space Volunteers.

But there is a problem. While volunteers can easily pick up trash, it takes special training to be able to maintain and renovate trails. More "crew leaders" are needed to direct larger groups of untrained volunteers. And those are lacking.

This weekend may help to alleviate that shortage. The city parks department, TOSC, the Rocky Mountain Field Institute, the Friends of Red Rock Canyon and the Friends of the Peak are working together to present a weekend-long intensive training. The sessions are free, and 10 of 40 spots remain open.

"This is really different," TOSC executive director Susan Davies says. "We brought these people together to put together a really exhaustive training ... there's a lot of pieces to this and we really hope this takes us to a new level."

Volunteers for the training will receive meals, a "how to" manual, and a free water bottle. To sign up for the training call TOSC at 633-6884, or call City Parks at 385-6542 and ask for Deb.

Not able to dedicate so much time to parks and open space? Davies points out that regular volunteers are still needed to get trails in shape for the summer. Many projects are underway — there are four volunteer projects around the city on this Saturday alone. Check openspacevolunteers.org for volunteer opportunities.

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