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Details: Cleveland National Forest and the Passport in Time program

Sunday, December 13, 2009

GETTING THERE

Southwest has one-stop flights from Dulles to San Diego with fares starting at $188 round trip. Cleveland National Forest and the Laguna Mountain Recreation Area are about 45 miles east of San Diego.

PASSPORT IN TIME

800-281-9176, http://www.passportintime.com.

The U.S. Forest Service Passport in Time program pairs volunteers with professional archaeologists and historians in national forests nationwide. There is no application fee. See the Web site for project descriptions and application deadlines. Projects are added on an ongoing basis; more will be posted in 2010.

You can apply to several projects at once. Project leaders contact the selected applicants about three weeks after the application deadline. Some projects use four volunteers; others take as many as 20. Most of the 102 projects in 2009 were in Western states. Most have a minimum age of 18, but some accept children with a parent.

Volunteers pay for their own transportation to the project site and for their own food and supplies, such as a tent. Tools, cameras, GPS devices, etc. are provided, and the Forest Service usually provides transportation on the project.

Accommodations vary from free backcountry or campsite camping to hotels in nearby towns at volunteer expense. Sometimes Forest Service barracks are provided, either free or for a small fee.

Apart from a get-acquainted dinner, volunteers provide their own food. Sometimes, especially when camping, a project leader designates a cook, and volunteers split the cost of food. Because the Red-Tailed Roost had a kitchen, I bought groceries at Pine Valley Market, 12 miles away. A week's worth of meals, including packed lunches, cost $39.

Project-related costs can be deducted from federal income taxes.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

On Cleveland National Forest: http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/cleveland

-- S.K.S.

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