The National Park Service is recruiting volunteers to participate in a new park initiative called Trails and Rails where participants will represent the National Park Service on Amtrak’s Cardinal route as it travels through the gorge enroute from Montgomery to Hinton. Interested individuals should contact the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve Volunteer Coordinator, Adrienne Jenkins, at email@example.com or by calling 304-465-2634.
Trails and Rails is a nationwide program already happening in other national parks including the National Parks of New York Harbor, Roosevelt-Vanderbilt National Historic Sites, Gateway Arch National Park, and others.
“Being a part of Trails and Rails is a natural fit for this park,” said Superintendent Charles Sellars. “Volunteers with this program have a great opportunity to be a part of a nationwide effort to introduce national parks to train travelers, meet interesting people from all over, and get a free train ride.”
Duties include answering visitor questions, distributing park maps and brochures, and presenting various onboard educational programs that relate to the park’s central interpretive theme of preserving the New River Gorge. Program training will be provided on communication skills, customer service, and general New River information.
Current plans are that the Trails to Rails program will begin operating during September of 2024. The ideal volunteer will be able to commit to a full eight-hour shift for intermittent days from mid-September into early November. Days and schedules will vary depending upon the number of volunteers recruited for the program. Other arrangements may be made for interested individuals that are willing to commit to fewer hours. Additional details will be provided later as the program develops.
The Trails and Rails program is a partnership between Amtrak, and the National Park Service that provides educational opportunities for travelers on the heritage and natural resources of a specific region while traveling by Amtrak. National Park sites across the country host teams of volunteers to help explain the passing regional historic and natural resources to the passengers. The Trails & Rails guides learn the special nuances of conducting programs using the train’s PA system, greeting passengers in the lounge car, and wandering through the train. Each volunteer must meet Amtrak’s requirements for physical fitness.
More information about the Trails and Rails program can be found at www.nps.gov/subjects/amtraktrailsandrails/index.htm. More information on other volunteer positions available with the National Park Service, can be found at www.volunteer.gov.