MGP Docents and Ranch Guides
United States of America

At the up-coming June meeting, ACR's Board of Directors will be voting whether or not to re-open Picher Canyon. We want the Board of Directors to know how many MGP Docents and Ranch Guides are in favor of reopening Picher Canyon.

Spring 2014 proved to be a challenging time for all of us MGP Volunteers. We Docents found that we could, if necessary, move our education program from Picher to Volunteer Canyon. Now, as our second spring in Volunteer Canyon (VC) is coming to a close, we are discovering how limiting this move has been to the students and the public that MGP serves, to the Docents and Ranch Guides, and to the ACR organization as a whole.

We are concerned about the prolonged closure of Picher Canyon. Docents currently serve less than half the students we did in Picher. On a daily basis, the smaller VC can only handle one classroom at a time, as opposed to two in Picher. The number of days available to hike is also limited due to the Overnight Program. We love our Overnight Program. The problem is that the overnights are in the same canyon as our day hike program and we can’t have both simultaneously. Not only do our students and public suffer from closing Picher, it’s demoralizing to the Docents and Ranch Guides to have this huge reduction to our Education Program.

Docents love hiking the trails. Most count on hiking 2-4 times per month; some enjoy doing it even more often. This spring, too many Docents only had 2-4 hikes the entire season. Fewer then 15 Ranch Guides have volunteered this spring. This Organization is where we choose to put our time and, in many cases, our dollars. We are very worried that active Volunteers will leave ACR for other volunteer opportunities elsewhere. Some Docents have left already and only a small group of Ranch Guides (about 18% of those who were active during the last Public Season in Picher Canyon) is participating in this spring’s VC public season. We cannot afford to continue losing these active Volunteers who are also friends and advocates of ACR. Our renowned Education Program should not be compromised any longer.

We urge you to vote for reopening Picher Canyon and for resuming all programs, trainings and public visitation that preceded the Canyon’s closure. We’d ask, too, that with the opening of Picher Canyon, new programming be developed for the Ranch Guides and for the public season, programming that will enable Ranch Guides to work effectively with the public in the absence of an active heronry in the Canyon.

The Petition for ACR Board of Directors to vote for re-opening Picher Canyon petition to MGP Docents and Ranch Guides was written by Susan Moritz, Amy Blackstone, Lydia Mendoza, Gail Berger, Joan Turner, Mary Lee Bronzo and is in the category Environment at GoPetition.