Every person associated with this project is volunteering their time and sweat to rebuild the Koko Crater Stairs. Come on out and pitch in. We are having a great time most weekdays from 7am to 12, but there are ways you can help out just as part of your climb, by carrying some gravel up the hill or helping us remove the large number of disintegrated rail ties cast to the sides of the trail over the years.
Join our Facebook group to keep up on developments.
Information for Volunteers
During the main phase of our project, we ran Volunteer Trail Days every Saturday and some weekdays from 7 to 12. In 10 months 1000-1500 people volunteered their time and racked up over 6,000 volunteer hours. Our work continues because additional improvements and ongoing maintenance are necessary for the Stairs. Trail Day announcements are made through Facebook and Instagram. We ask that you check in to the system, so we can anticipate how many people will be there volunteering.
(check the signup list to see scheduled volunteer days.)
It's hot and hard work - make sure you're fueled up and don't push yourself too hard. We ask you to be self-sufficient in terms of water and food. Make sure you've got sunscreen, good shoes, and you're ready to get sweaty and dirty. Please wear a mask at all times and practice safe distancing.
There are no bathrooms near the trailhead. The nearest bathrooms in the park are down towards the tennis courts - probably about a 10 minute walk from the trailhead.
We run orientation at 7am, though you can slide into the work process if you arrive later.
The volunteer work consists of
- Filling and tying gravel bags near the trailhead. We usually get a production process going. This is the least taxing kind of volunteer activities on the mountain, and is an essential part of our work.
- Carrying gravel bags and lumber up the stairs to locations where they are needed. Gravel bags are 40-50 pounds and it is very tough work. We usually have gravel managers up on the hill to let you know where to lay bags. Taking a bag all the way to its final destination is difficult, and we often set things up in stages, so you may be recruited to shuttle bags in between stages.
- Carrying gravel buckets up the stairs and dumping the contents where it's needed - 80 percent of the gravel we place is loose. Most people find that two evenly-loaded buckets is easier to carry than one. We have a system of flags set up every day that are managed by our gravel directors. Buckets of gravel get poured in areas marked with a single orange flag. If you come to Koko later in the afternoon, we usually leave buckets and shovels out. You're free to carry some buckets up and pour them in flagged areas.
- Carrying lumber up the stairs to spots where handlers will direct you to drop it off. Each board is 8 feet long and about 70 pounds. It's very hard work and requires some care and balance.
- Building steps and retaining walls. Each morning we assemble 2-3 teams of people who want to build. It's not very complicated work, but comfort with basic power tools (a saw, and impact driver) and simple construction (measuring tape, a square) is a plus. We pair each team with an experienced builder, and we provide all the tools and supplies needed.
Above all, be safe, be courteous, have fun. We are fixing this together. If you volunteer, you'll always be able to identify some part of the mountain and say "I did that right there!" Koko Crater Stairs is a treasure for us all, but we've loved it to death. Come help us repair it, to ensure that it's around for future generations to enjoy.