Buck Rock Lookout is located in the Big Meadows area of the Hume Lake Ranger District in Giant Sequoia National Monument, Sequoia National Forest. The lookout is a popular destination for people from all over the world. Perched at 8,500 feet elevation and 300 feet above the ground on a granite dome, visitors have grand views of the High Sierra featuring the Great Western Divide, Kings Canyon, and surrounding landscape. With this popularity comes a constant stream of people who are excited to see a working lookout and to view the spectacular sites seen from the top of the rock.
While it is wonderful to share the lookout with so many visitors, at times it can impact the fire-watcher and the job they are there to do. In 2015, to assist lookout staff and to help answer questions by inquisitive visitors, the Buck Rock Foundation instituted a docent program designed to help out on weekends, holidays, and other high-impact days during the summer months. Limiting the number of guests climbing the stairs and inside the lookout cab allows the lookout on duty to do their job more effectively.
So… Do you love spending time in the mountains? Are you friendly and have a positive attitude?
Or maybe you’re a longtime visitor to Buck Rock and want to give back to that oh-so-very special place. Then this is the volunteer opportunity for you.
“The docent program has been a big success,” said Kathy Allison, Buck Rock Foundation president. “We would like to continue the program.”
Volunteer docents set up at the base of Buck Rock with tables, chairs, and awnings to talk with visitors before they head up the stairs. In addition to handing out bits of information about the forest, park, and interpretation about lookouts and fire, docents also explain how to support the Buck Rock Foundation and the preservation of fire lookouts.
A docent workshop is scheduled for Sunday, June 5, from 1 to 3 p.m., at the Hume Lake Ranger District Office, 35860 E. Kings Canyon Road (Hwy. 180), Dunlap. The workshop will introduce the program to those interested in assisting.
Training will be given regarding the information shared with the public. Docents will learn about the history and operation of Buck Rock and other fire lookouts, local recreation information, and fire prevention messaging. The time commitment is based on the volunteer’s availability (from one day to several) beginning mid-June through Labor Day weekend.
Anyone interested in volunteering as a “Friend of Buck Rock” may contact the Buck Rock Foundation via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (559) 901-8151.