I have been going on trips with WV annually for about the past eight years and absolutely love the organization. I signed up for my first trip as a way to not only give back to our public lands, but to explore a place I normally wouldn't visit/explore on my own. What a great way to utilize local resources -- like the NPS, BLM, etc., person connected with each trip. I loved what WV was doing and felt so much passion about it that I became a leader five years ago and am a recent addition to the board of directors. I finally got my brother to come to a trip this year and he was hooked and is looking at the trips for next year already!
I did a project in Alaska with Wilderness Volunteers and it was outstanding. We built a trail in the backcountry. I loved the people on the team and the week we spent working together.
My wife and I have been on 2 trips with this organization, one cleaning up illegal campsites in the Sierra Nevada, and the other repairing and improving a trail in Glacier N.P. Both were well-organized and the 10 or 12 volunteers on each trip a good group of people who did a lot of good work in a short (4 days, plus 1 free day) time. Backpacked in to the Sierra, but had a USFS pack outfit bring in tools, food, and kitchen stuff, which was nice. We all took turns with camp chores (cooking, cleaning, hauling water, etc), which were organized by our volunteer leaders, so that worked out well. Liked Glacier because we hiked out to worksite everyday, but could enjoy hot showers a short walk from our campground. In both cases it was clear that the rangers we worked with were very appreciative of our volunteer assistance.
Have done several trips with this organization in a few different states. Hoping to do a trip in Hawaii next! It's a great way to see new places and meet new people without the $ it would take to do it on your own. The work is hard but satisfying and at the end of the week you leave with a with a sense that you did something important to help our public lands. The trip leaders I've worked with so far have been entertaining and informative and the office staff (Dave/Debbie) have been helpful and accommodating when I've had issues.
I've done several of these trips / work projects. I have been rewarded by good clean fun, hard word, and new friendships. My only complaint about this organization is the main office coodinator Deb. truly not a nice person. Truly a phony in many ways. She is the main reason why I stopped participating with WV and have decided to donate my time and energy to other ventures!
Phil, I had a great time on the project we did in the Boundary Waters. I can't imagine what I did to make you unhappy, but wish you the best with your other ventures. Debbie
I have been going on WV trips for more than five years, first as a volunteer and now as a trip leader. They offer more than fifty projects a year across the US, including backcountry restoration, trail maintenance, invasive species removal, etc. The projects are very rewarding, in beautiful places, with interesting people, and very affordable. Oh yeah...the food is remarkably good. If you are interested in an outstanding and meaningful wilderness experience, you should check out WV.