Tuesday, December 8, 2009

End of season.. "Off season"

It is hard to believe... the season is over! If you've noticed, that's the way things are..the busier you are, the faster the time passes. That was definitely the case for the Old Rag Mountain Steward program this year...All the planning, all the training, all the preparation came into sharp focus this fall as almost every weekend we were confronted by a situation that posed significant challenge(s).

While there is never really an off season on Old Rag, we consider the six months of the year when there is no official presence of the Mountain stewards to be the off season. It's a time for us to reflect on the year's accomplishments and to prepare and plan for the upcoming 2010 season.

2009 Season Wrap-up:

(excerpted from the 2009 Summary sitrep... for a complete copy email mtnjedi@gmail.com)

"The 2009 season can be judged an unqualified success. regardless of whether the Stewards were called upon to perform as first responders, on-scene technical rescue leaders or simply assisting novice hikers and backpackers to hike and camp responsibly, their performance was top level. The ORMS presence continues to be an accepted, recognized and fully integrated outreach program on ORM, and the interest level and ORMS morale remains high."

"- ORMS provided more than 25 first aid assists, 8 of which required evacuation or further treatment at a medical facility.
- more than 438 interactions with hikers involved providing directional assistance.
- 16 groups and individuals, without lights, were assisted off the mountain after dark.
- 27 "separated parties" were located and reunited."

.. and about the ORMS volunteers:
"- a total of 189 days of service was provided to the public by ORMS volunteers.
- 2323 hours of service were donated by ORMS volunteers
- "top stewards" averaged 34 ascents )each) of ORM during the year."

There were at least 2 newspaper articles written about the ORMS, and we received numerous notes of thanks from various visitors to the mountain...
and, (hallelujah!) Shenandoah National Park completed a
MOULDERING PRIVY and placed it near the Old Rag Shelter.. hopefully folks will now be able to "hold it" just a bit longer and refrain from using this amazing wilderness as an open potty.

Planning for 2010 includes:

- Wilderness / Mountain First aid and refresher training (for ORMS) weekend on 27-28 March
- a consolidated and published annual training plan for ORMS weekends
-sometime this Spring, the upper parking lot for Old Rag will be permanently closed
- April will begin the ORMS spring season.

As always, we look forward to seeing you out on the mountain, and better yet, JOINING US!