Three years ago, Chuck Worley, of Yerington, founded a volunteer group to help the Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service care for the Wilson Canyon Recreation Area, located on public land adjacent to the West Walker River and Highway 208 near Yerington.
Worley, 43, was recently selected as one of the eight BLM "Make a Difference" award winners. He will be honored May 11 at a ceremony at the Department of the Interior in Washington, D.C.
What is the Friends of Wilson Canyon?
It's a group of volunteers that was formed to help the BLM and the Forest Service manage the Wilson Canyon Recreation Area. We have people who enjoy recreational vehicles, nature lovers and bike riders. We try to be a multi-use organization.
What is the group's purpose?
We got a grant from the recreational trails program that provides money for trail opportunities on public lands. We put up signs and protective barriers where there was some danger of damage. We also added some other barriers for safety.
We created some brochures on how to use the public lands and things to avoid. The BLM and the Forest Service are stretched for both people and money, so we try to help out with whatever we can. We also try to work with the county to support multipurpose uses for the recreation area.
Why is it important to you to protect public lands?
That's just it, they are public lands. They are owned by us. The BLM and the Forest Service are there to manage these lands, but they are owned by us, the public. They can't be in every mile or cover it all very well. We are just another set of eyes on the ground to help and keep these lands useable.
What is your reaction to being honored as a volunteer of the year?
I was surprised. I didn't do it for the recognition, I did it because it needed to be done. That area is very popular. I take my son out there and I want him to be able to take his kids out there someday.
There are a lot of people who are involved in the group and they all do a lot of work. Even though I was honored, it really should be about honoring the group.
How can someone become involved with the Friends of Wilson Canyon?
The best way is to go to our Web site at www.wilsoncanyonnv.org and go to the link on how to be a member. We keep the site updated and try to communicate with big groups that come to the recreation area to keep everyone updated on what we are doing.