Caring for the land and serving people

The Forest Service Volunteer Association, a not-for-profit organization formed in 1990, provides the Forest Service, San Jacinto Ranger District with supplemental manpower, to develop, and expand National Forest projects, to furnish public service, and in addition, to generate fundraising capabilities. It is the responsibility of the Forest Service Volunteer Association to serve as "Ambassadors to the Forest". Sub-groups within the organization include:

Wilderness volunteer patrol rangers - hiking volunteers patrol many of the trails in the National Forest sometimes spending one or more nights in the forest. These folks count the number of visitors, check permits and make sure camp sites are being used properly. These hearty men and women also perform trail maintenance, pick up trash and are available to provide assistance to any forest visitor.

Cross-cut saw team - this group uses manual cross-cut saws and wedges to clear downed trees from wilderness trails. 

Equestrian volunteer patrol rangers - volunteers who own horses perform many of the same duties as the hiking unit, patrolling hundreds of miles of trails in the National Forest wilderness areas on horseback.

Pack stock volunteer team - using pack animals, this team delivers and removes camping supplies, such as food and water, to youth groups who spend their summer assisting in the forest.

Forest Service volunteer equestrian parade unit - an award-winning equestrian group, they perform in parades and festivals from Idyllwild to Bishop.

Volunteers working in district ranger stations -  volunteers work in the Idyllwild Forest Service office helping visitors complete visitor permits, selling books, maps, pamphlets, directing visitors to trails and camp sites, and may be called on to perform general office work.

Interpretive volunteers - these individuals lead adults, children and groups through areas of the forest pointing out the various flora and fauna. They also visit schools and other groups teaching "Leave No Trace" principles. Interpretive speakers will spend several hours learning the specifics of the San Jacinto Wilderness.

Volunteer Now →

Board of Directors


Bob Romano
I started hiking and backpacking regularly in the San Jacinto Mountains with my wife Norma in 1995. At first we primarily visited the state park area of the wilderness via the tram but after finding out how peaceful and quiet the Federal Wilderness areas were we started using the Devils Slide Trail and others out of Idyllwild most of the time.   After meeting volunteers over the course of time I became a new volunteer in 1998.  In 2001 I became the FSVA Wilderness Volunteer Coordinator and in 2010 was elected as President of the Forest Service Volunteer Association.  I also served as the Tower Leader from 2002 to 2014 for the Tahquitz Peak Fire Lookout through another partner organization on the forest.  I enjoy volunteering because I can help visitors enjoy their time in our beautiful and pristine wilderness.  I enjoy the work the volunteers do to keep the wilderness a wild place for generations to come.  In my work life I have been a luxury travel planner since 1975, now with Montecito Village Travel, a Virtuoso Member Agency.  My wife and I live in Idyllwild.              


Karleen Esparza              
Vice President & Equestrian Parade Unit Coordinator
My family and I moved to Idyllwild in 1990. Needing something to do besides working at the preschool, I joined the FSVA in 1991 with my friend. We thought,"hey let's do a parade" and I have been doing parades  and public relations ever since. I was made parade captain in 1993 or 94, it was a long time ago!   The parade unit is a strong first place team with amazing people in it. We love to help spread the message of the FSVA and educate every time we step out into the street or in a public relation type setting. 


Patty Andersen                   
Secretary & Web Information Coordinator
I joined FSVA in 2013 as a Wilderness Patrol Ranger and expanded those duties by doing trail work with the Forest Service and Pacific Crest Trail Association, worked as a Fire Lookout Host on Tahquitz Peak, and took over the FSVA website design and implementation. I also volunteer for the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto National Monument out of Palm Desert, CA. I was elected to the board in 2017, and in 2019 I took on the role of Secretary.

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Chip Hurn              
Treasurer & Equestrian Coordinator
I was introduced to the San Jacinto Wilderness in 1980 after marrying my wife, Vicky.  She had been spending summers here and hiking the local mountains since she was a little girl.  After I retired from the Navy, we had more time to spend hiking and camping in the Wilderness.  Our frequent hikes led to numerous encounters with volunteers on the various trails sparking our interest in volunteering with the FSVA.  We completed training as Wilderness Rangers in 2007.  In 2013, with our two new family members, Missouri Foxtrotters Risco and Rocky, we became Equestrian Rangers as well.  I’ve served as Assistant Equestrian Coordinator and as an FSVA board member since 2014.  In 2017, I became the Equestrian Coordinator.  I was elected to serve as Treasurer in 2017 as well. For me, whether patrolling on my feet or my horse’s feet, I enjoy helping visitors enjoy their time in our local forest and helping to preserve it for the future.           

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Rick Wilkerson               
Wilderness Coordinator
My wife and I first began hiking in the San Jacinto Wilderness in 2003 and I felt a strong connection to the beauty and solitude of the wilderness. This inspired me to give back and support the Forest Service in their mission to protect this wonderful environment for others to enjoy. I became a volunteer Wilderness Patrol Ranger and a Tahquitz Peak Lookout Host in 2008 and have also worked as a Trail Crew Leader. In 2013, I became the Wilderness Coordinator, responsible for coordinating and training all volunteer wilderness patrol rangers, and thereafter became a member of the Board of Directors.


Patti Hudson
Assistant Wilderness Coordinator
After retiring and moving full-time to Pine Cove, it was my time to give back. I’d been hiking in the San Jacinto Wilderness since 1989, so it made sense to volunteer with the FSVA which I joined in 2011 as a Wilderness Ranger. Since becoming a member I have been awarded the 1000 volunteer hour USDA Forest Service Chief award, I’ve become an assistant FSVA coordinator, and have taken on the job as the Leave No Trace education-coordinator. See you on the trail!”


Robin Roberts              
Interpretive Outreach Coordinator
When we moved to Idyllwild in 2012, our gratitude for the gifts of Nature that surrounded us prompted my husband, Dan and I to get involved with FSVA immediately. Since 2013, I have participated in a variety of roles - Wilderness Ranger, Breeding Bird Surveys, Bird and Mountain Yellow-legged Frog monitoring, Tahquitz Fire Lookout Tower host and the newest - Interpretive Outreach Coordinator. Lighting a spark of curiosity and appreciation of Nature in others is at the heart of interpretation. Where ever you find me, I will have a pair of binoculars and a camera around my neck. I don't want to miss anything. See you on the trails!

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Chris Scott               
Board Member
I was born and raised in Chicago, IL. and moved to Idyllwild in 2014. As a volunteer with the U.S. Forest Service, I serve as a Tahquitz Peak Fire Tower lookout as well as a Wilderness Ranger. The most recent addition to the FSVA Board, I also serve on the Idyllwild Community Fund board and I am currently the President of the Rotary Club of Idyllwild. I am an avid Chicago Cubs fan and also play bass guitar. 

Joe Bressi               
Board Member
I have been a Volunteer Wilderness Ranger since 2007. In 2008 I became a Tahquitz Peak Fire Lookout Volunteer. Starting in 2014, I have taken on the job of Tower Leader for Tahquitz Peak.  I enjoy volunteering , it gives me a chance to help keep our wilderness safe for future generations.  Also, I educate the public on how they can do the same.

Forest Service Liaison

Julie Hall
District Ranger

Andy Smith
Forest Service Liaison

Non-Board Member Coordinators

Mike Taggart       
Founder of FSVA, Chair Emeritus
Jana Desrocher
Retail Store Coordinator

Steve Schwitters       
Cross Cut Saw Trail Crew Team Coordinator
Ron Krull                   
Assistant Wilderness Coordinator

Rick Villela                   
Web Technical Advisor


Don Raridon, OmniWeb - Idyllwild, CA
Many thanks to Don who has helped us with our website for several years.
If you need computer help in Idyllwild, contact him at 951 514-7545 or email:


We would love to hear from you!

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