The spirit of Allegany County, Maryland is alive and well. One of the greatest examples of the community working together is the year-round volunteer work done by the Volunteer Team of Rocky Gap State Park, Dan’s Mountain State Park and Greed Ridge State Forest. Throughout the year, a dedicated group of volunteers works on tasks ranging from maintenance to special events at each of the three facilities.
The Volunteer Team was founded in 1992 in response to budgetary cuts throughout the State Forest and Park Service. A handful of individuals began to volunteer their personal time and effort to maintain resources and preserve programs at the three parks. Since then, hundreds of volunteers have participated in the program, logging in excess of 200,000 hours of service.
Volunteers are involved in many aspects of operations and maintenance at the three sites. The maintenance work includes but is not limited to maintaining campground and day-use facilities; trail maintenance, gardening, building picnic tables, creating fish habitats, cleaning and construction projects. In 1998, the Team sponsored a playground construction project in the Rocky Gap campground. Another was installed in the spring of 2000 as well as a basketball court. Adult swings have also been added to Rocky Gap’s day use area and campground as well as Dan’s Mountain. In 2002, The Team built a game room at the Rocky Gap campground and completed the construction of a group camping facility.
The Volunteer Team also sponsors and provides assistance for numerous special events for the public including the annual Easter Egg Hunts at Rocky Gap and Dan’s Mountain, mountain bike races at Green Ridge, Independence Day activities and a Memorial Day Children’s Fun Fair at Rocky Gap. They also serve at the Youth Fishing Derbies, car shows, the Labor Day Corn Roast and the Annual Rocky Gap State Park Haunted Campground. Most recently, the Team has been involved in the Mountain Reflections Christmas light display at Rocky Gap, working in cooperation with the local chapter of the American Red Cross. They are also setting up a schedule of events for the local parks for the spring, summer and fall.
The Volunteer Team also plays an integral role in ongoing public education and recreation programs at the parks. They participate and lead campfire programs, canoe trips, hikes and the Junior Ranger, Camp Host and Volunteer Ranger Programs. On a weekly basis, the Team operates a snack bar as a service to campers at Rocky Gap’s Campground for 8 to 10 hour shifts at a time. This service is performed entirely with volunteer labor, and the profits are then returned to the park in the form of new computers and equipment that could otherwise not be afforded.
The Volunteer Team provides support to park and forest visitors on a continuing basis through the Camp Host and Volunteer Ranger programs. The Team is diligent in its continued efforts to provide events and services to the community of Allegany County, Maryland and the surrounding communities through service at the local state facilities.