Volunteer hosts set up residence at Cedar Creek trailhead

By Karen Brainard

A couple from Arizona has taken up temporary residence as trailhead hosts for the Cedar Creek Falls trail and is receiving a warm reception from their neighbors along Thornbush Road.

Chip and Christine D’amico, forest service volunteer trailhead hosts for Cedar Creek Falls, visit with neighbor Phil Harding. Sentinel photo/Karen Brainard

Within one week of arriving, they had been invited to dinner at Nancy and Phil Harding’s home.

Francis “Chip” and Christine D’amico are volunteering through a program with the U.S. Forest Service, which in turn provides a concrete pad and hook-up at the trailhead for them to live in their motor home. The Cedar Creek trail starts at the end of Thornbush Road in San Diego Country Estates and hikers must obtain a permit through the forest service to use the trail.

A spokesperson from the Cleveland National Forest office described the hosts’ duties as “to help educate the public and essentially be our eyes and ears.”

The D’amicos, who love being outside, are enthusiastic about their new role.

“We’ve committed to three months,” said Christine, adding they might stay longer. “We really love it.”

The couple, both in their early 50s, said the forest service found their backgrounds a perfect fit for the trailhead. Chip is a retired police sergeant and Christine retired from a career in customer service.

Chip said he sees a real need for hosts at the trail, which prohibits alcohol and jumping and diving from the cliffs into the pool below the falls.

Chip and Christine D’amico from Arizona serve as volunteer trailhead hosts for the Cedar Creek Falls trail, checking for visitor use permits, educating hikers, and serving as “eyes and ears” for the forest service. Sentinel photo/Karen Brainard

For anyone who gets caught, Chip said, “It’s actually a misdemeanor charge on their record.”

Since they arrived on Oct. 18, they have seen a few young people arrive and leave after noticing their parked RV.

The couple will check that hikers have permits and, if not, show them how to access a permit from a smartphone. They also will advise people of the trail’s challenges and the need to take plenty of water. Still, that doesn’t sound like enough work  to them.

“We’re people who like to stay busy all the time,” noted Chip, saying they also will be weeding, landscaping, and taking out trash. They each expect to work about 35 hours per week.

Related posts:

  1. Drinking water at Cedar Creek trailhead nears final approval
  2. Officials work to resolve Cedar Creek trailhead brouhaha
  3. Sheriff’s deputies assist forest service enforce Cedar Creek closure
  4. Cedar Creek Falls clientele changes with permit system
  5. Hikers discover apparent suicide at Cedar Creek trailhead

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Posted by Staff on Nov 5 2013. Filed under Country Living, Featured Story. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

3 Comments for “Volunteer hosts set up residence at Cedar Creek trailhead”

  1. GlennYounger

    Great addition for a busy trailhead.
    Should eliminate lots of calls for emergancy resues and thus save money.
    Way to go Forest Service!

  2. Aletha

    Welcome to our trails Chip and Christine! I am so glad that you will be there to educate the public. Cedar Falls is so beautiful and sometimes it would make me sick to see how some would litter the area. There is also "newish" hikers who don't understand that this trail can be deadly if you don't bring enough water for themselves and their pets. I look forward to meeting you both!

  3. Karen C

    Wonderful! State Parks and other agencies do this too and it is fabulous! Welcome to Ramona Chip and Christine.

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