Foundation Programs and Volunteer Opportunities
Please click on the (+) to expand each catagory where you can learn more about our programs and how you can volunteer to help.
+ Volunteer Fire Lookout Program
Volunteer Fire Lookout Progam
The Buck Rock Foundation Volunteer Lookout program supports the
fire management programs of Sequoia National Forest and
Sequoia/Kings Canyon National Park by providing fire detection,
radio communications, weather observations and public information
at fire lookout stations. By providing this service, volunteers
help protect communities and public lands from catastrophic
wildfires, increase public awareness about the forest, fire and
lookouts and help preserve our conservation heritage.
Fire Lookout volunteers staff three fire lookouts in the Kings River watershed: Buck Rock, Delilah and Park Ridge during fire season. Fire season is typically May through October.
NOTE: This is a very popular program and space is limited. Please RSVP if you would like to attend our Lookout Orientation held each spring.
• Be 18 years or older, or accompanied by an adult if younger
• Be in good health and have good eyes eight
• Be able to read a topographical map.
• Feel comfortable talking on the radio.
• Think quickly and calmly in emergency situations.
• Need little supervision.
• Ability to live/work in isolated areas for periods of time.
• Friendly, courteous and professional with the visiting public.
• Have a good attitude and learn something new!
HOW TO BECOME A FIRE LOOKOUT VOLUNTEER:
• ·Attend the Lookout Orientation held in the April
• Sign a volunteer agreement with the Forest Service and/or the Park Service
• Complete the required training provided by the Buck Rock Foundation
o Annual participation in the our classroom group Lookout Training
o Complete 2-3 days of “in-tower” training to achieve certification
o Volunteer for a minimum of 45 hours per season (approximately 5 days/shifts). You can work one day at a time or combine days and spend the night at the
lookout. A shift is generally 9:00-6:00.
• Have a strong commitment to the vision, mission and purpose of the Buck Rock Foundation.
• Maintain your uniform in good condition and wear it while on duty
• Attend annual mandatory refresher trainings
• Have your own transportation. High clearance vehicles are recommended.
• Our lookouts are open to the public and are popular with visitors. As representatives of the US Forest Service and National Park Service, you will be expected to be friendly and courteous when working with the public.
WAYS YOU CAN PREPARE AT HOME:
• Study the weather, Check-out a book on weather. Learn about weather patterns, thunderstorm activity and types of clouds.
• Study maps. Learn the basics of map reading – Understand topography (recognize ridges, drainages, mountain tops, and elevation topo lines) and legal locations.
• Explore! Study a map of the area and get familiar with names of landmarks surrounding the lookout. Explore the territory surrounding the lookout by driving nearby roads and hiking nearby trails.
• Listen to a scanner. Get familiar with the language and situations emergency services communicate on the radio.
• Learn about the forest and park. Read about or visit the Sequoia National Forest and Kings Canyon National Park Visitor Centers. Learn about sequoia trees, fire, the natural and cultural history and recreational opportunities in the area.
LIVING AT A LOOKOUT:
All three of our lookouts are self-contained units with power, a bed, fridge, stove, oven and sink. Bathroom facilities are outhouses located at ground level. There are no shower facilities. Living at a lookout is similar to camping.
• Delilah and Park Ridge have cell phones and Buck Rock has a telephone landline. Currently only Verizon provides coverage in our area.
• Bring a sleeping bag, pillow or pillow cover, towels, flashlight and personal items.
• Bring drinking water and food supplies (Note: Essentials like dishes, utensils and cleaning supplies are available to use.) Facilities have non-potable water for washing.
• Cabinet space is limited but available for storing personal belongs while you are at the lookout.
• Binoculars are supplied but suggest you bring a pair if you have them.
• Lookouts have a refrigerator, a single bed, a sink, and a stove with an oven.
• Wildlife – one of the real pleasures of the living at a lookout is being able to share nature with animals you may not ordinarily see in your day-to-day life. Please respect the wildlife!
• When your shift is over, leave the lookout as you found it – floor swept, trash emptied, dishes washed and put away, etc.
- Delilah Lookout-
Delilah is staffed exclusively by Buck Rock Foundation volunteer lookouts and is often the first assignment for incoming volunteers. It is located in the northern most part of the Sequoia National Forest at an elevation of 5,156 feet with dramatic views of the lower Kings River drainage as it flows into Pine Flat reservoir. Delilah is a spacious 15x15’lookout cab on a 70’metal tower with access to the top via a stairway that zig-zags within the frame of the tower. You can drive to the base of this tower along a dirt road and park down below. Delilah is considered a remote post, with beautiful sunsets and few visitors other than wildlife.
· Park Ridge Lookout –
After almost 10 years of closure, the Buck Rock Foundation opened up Park Ridge in September 2004 and is responsible for staffing the lookout with volunteers. Park Ridge is located in Kings Canyon National Park just northeast of Grant Grove. Access is along a well-maintained fire road that is closed to the public with parking at the base of the tower. Visitors to the lookout must hike 2.6 miles of trail from Panorama Point to get to the tower. Park Ridge was built in 1966 and is a well-maintained, all-steel fire lookout with a cozy 12x12’cab and only 30 feet off the ground. Park Ridge receives about 1,000 visitors per year, enjoys views of the Great Western Divide and is critical in protecting our local mountain and foothill communities at risk for wildfire.
· Buck Rock Lookout –
The namesake of the Foundation, Buck Rock lookout is a spectacular location for fire detection and for the visiting public to enjoy. At 8,502 feet, this high elevation lookout is the primary fire detection location for the Hume Lake Ranger District of the Giant Sequoia National Monument. It is staffed 5 days a week with a forest service employee. Volunteers staff the lookout for two days a week or as needed. Due to the complexity of the situation – Buck Rock is used as a communications hub by the Forest Service, receives an abundance of thunderstorm activity and is visited by thousands of people each year - only our more experienced volunteers typically staff Buck Rock.
One of the missions of the Buck Rock Foundation is to help maintain and restore fire lookouts in the Sequoia National Forest and Kings Canyon National Park. Fire lookouts are considered historically significant as most are at least 50 years old. Lookouts are also of cultural significance as they represent an important era in our nations conservation history. You can imagine what happens to a building that sits perched alone for fifty years or more on top of a mountain, constantly being battered by the extreme conditions at high elevations: strong winds, tons of snow, rodents seeking shelter, etc. For years lookouts have suffered from their unusual habitat and years of neglect due to lack of funding and negligence. Our Preservation Program helps to restore and maintain fire lookouts and guard stations. How can you help?
We work with government agencies and follow historic preservation guidelines to help restore and rehabilitate fire lookouts and guard stations. Some of the projects we have been involved with include: Buck Rock rehab (2012-13), Needles rehab (2007), Delilah rehab (2010-11), Park Ridge rehab (2016), Big Meadows Guard Station and Beach Meadow Guard Station (2004),
Our Facilities Maintenance team works with agencies to provide assessments of fire lookouts to help determine and prioritize projects. We gather interested volunteers to work on completing these projects while also donating materials and other supplies. Our goal is to prevent further deterioration and to provide a safe environment for fire-watchers and visitors at lookouts. Some of the facilities we have helped maintain include: SQF - Bald Mountain LO, Breckenridge LO, Buck Rock LO, Delilah LO, Mule Peak LO, Jordan Peak LO, Park Ridge LO, Cannell Meadow Guard Station; SNF – Fence Meadow LO, Mt Tom LO; SEKI – Park Ridge LO.
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
Join our Facilities Maintenance Team to help us complete projects at lookouts and guard stations. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 559-901-8151 if you are interested.
· Willingness to take direction
- Basic knowledge of work site safety practices or the willingness to learn
· Ability to pound a nail, use small hand-tools, wield a paint brush
· Not afraid of heights
· In good physical condition
· Ability to lift heavy objects
· Ability to climb stairs
(We are always looking for people who are experienced in historic preservation work as many of our projects need to stay within SHPO guidelines.)
WHAT TO EXPECT:
· Free camping near project work site
· Rustic conditions (usually an outhouse and no running potable water)
· Sometimes food or snacks will be provided, but not always
· Restoration may include foundation work, replacing siding, painting, re-roofing, replacing windows and window frames, caulking, window glazing, deck building and carpentry.
+ Education and Outreach
Education and Outreach
Buck Rock Foundation participates in special events and provides
programs that encourage preservation and stewardship of fire
lookouts and public lands. Many volunteer opportunities support this
FRIENDS OF BUCK ROCK DOCENTS
Friends of Buck Rock docents provide much needed support for the operation of Buck Rock Lookout, where thousands of visitors make the trek to experience a working lookout and enjoy the spectacular views. (For more, click the link)
BLUE RIDGE FIRE LOOKOUT DISPLAY
The Tulare County Fair provides the venue for sharing fire lookouts with kids and adults at the Blue Ridge Fire Lookout Display. The lookout cab was removed from its home on Blue Ridge above Springville in 2010, refurbished and transferred to the fairgrounds where it is now used as part of the CAL FIRE Smokey Bear educational pavilion. BRF has been involved with the effort from the get-go and provides volunteers to staff the display. A canvas backdrop with a photo of a smoke in the forest helps demonstrate the use of the original fire finder that sits in the center of the cab. Volunteers explain the history and workings of the fire lookout and its benefit to the forest. The Tulare County Fair typically runs for 4 days in September. Dates vary from year to year.
- Volunteers work with the CAL FIRE prevention team to talk to kids and adults about the workings of a fire lookout and its roll in fire prevention. Training and informational materials are available prior to the event. Volunteers work in 4-5 hour shifts for two days during the fair.
BUCK ROCK OPEN HOUSE
The Buck Rock Foundation Open House has been a tradition since 2000, when the Foundation and the Forest Service officially partnered to reopen Buck Rock Lookout. This free event, which takes place annually on Sunday of Labor Day weekend, features tours of the lookout, educational displays, fire lookout memorabilia, and Smokey Bear. A flag-raising ceremony starts off the event, which is held at the base of the Buck Rock from 10:30-3:00.
- Staff a booth, greet people, help with traffic control, give tours. Between 300-400 visitors attend this very popular event each year.
FIELD TRIPS TO LOOKOUTS PROVIDE A UNIQUE EDUCATIONAL EXPERIENCE
Youth camps, schools and leadership academies enjoy visiting Buck Rock and Park Ridge fire lookouts for opportunities to learn about fire prevention, fire ecology, the cultural and natural history of the Kings River watershed and all about the workings of a fire lookout.
FIELD TRIP AND PROGRAM OPPORTUNITIES
· Group field trips (Free except for Park entrance fee)
· Youth Education Program – Meets CA Standards for 4th and 5th grade classes (Cost)
NOTE: Transportation not provided
For more information or to sign up call 559-901-8151 or email email@example.com
· Naturalists, educators and others interested in leading field trips and providing educational programs.
Announcing Volunteer Fire Lookout Training Dates for Fire Season 2019!
Registration Required. RSVP 559-901-8151
Orientation (Mandatory) - April 13, 2019 Saturday 9:00-5:00. Hume Lake District Office, 35860 E. Kings Canyon Road, Dunlap, CA
Training (Mandatory) - April 27, 2019 Saturday 9:00-5:00. Sequoia NF Supervisor's Office, Porterville, CA
To RSVP or for more information:
559-901-8151 or firstname.lastname@example.org