Laguna Mountain Volunteer Association

We officially incorporated as the Laguna Mountain Volunteer Association, Inc., (LMVA) in 1986, as a California 501 (c) (3) accredited non-profit organization. Our volunteers have been providing quality services to visitors to the Laguna Mountain Recreation Area, and supporting the Descanso District of the Cleveland National Forest, in the following ways.

Laguna Mountain Volunteer Association


Visitor Services


LMVA volunteers; operate the Mt Laguna Visitor Information Center on weekends. Visitor questions are addressed; Adventure passes are sold, area maps or sold, and issue disbursed camping permits.


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Laguna Mountain Volunteer Association




Interpretive Services




LMVA volunteers; lead Nature Walks from the campgrounds, Conduct Campfire Programs, Provide children’s programs, and host an annual “Living History Program”.


LMVA volunteers; participate in the Trail Ambassador program. Volunteers on foot, bike and horseback take to the trails on weekends to answer visitor questions and monitor trail conditions.

Laguna Mountain Volunteer Association


Trail Maintenance

LMVA volunteers; provide maintenance for the over 50 miles of trails in the Laguna Mountain Recreation Area.

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Laguna Mountain Volunteer Association



Special projects


LMVA volunteers help LMVA volunteers; organize Special Projects are to assist the Forest service maintain their property, such as painting picnic tables.


LMVA volunteers; maintain the landscaping around the Visitor Center and the Volunteer Activity Center.


LMVA volunteers; regularly pick up the recycling from the Laguna Mountain campgrounds.


LMVA volunteers; have a permit with the County of San Diego for the removal of trash from mile marker 20.5 to 22.5 on Sunrise Highway.

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     In the Fall of 1984, a group of volunteers, led by Pat Engman,  who had been working on an individual basis decided to form a volunteer organization. They had been volunteering with minimal supervision and guidance from the Forest Service.  The Forest Service had many needs which it felt could best be met by organizing a volunteer association. The Laguna Mountain Volunteer Association was officially born in the spring of 1985. Operating under Forest Service standards, the volunteers have been providing quality recreation experiences and educating the visitors to the Descanso District of the Cleveland National Forest. In 1986, LMVA officially incorporated as the Laguna Mountain Volunteer Association, Inc, a California 501 (c) (3) accredited non-profit organization.  Our core mission and purpose over the years has been sustained by a membership with common goals and a deep appreciation of our natural resources and the beauty of our local mountains.





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The LMVA Trail Maintenance Crew maintains the approximate 35-mile trail system in the Mount Laguna Recreation Area, making it safer and more enjoyable for hikers, mountain bikers, and travelers on horseback. LMVA built the Big Laguna and Indian Creek trails, but we are currently in maintenance mode. Maintenance consists of removing brush encroaching on the trail, tread maintenance, repairing erosion, and removing root balls and rocks.


Safety is the Number One priority for the Trail Crew, and we are proud that our safety record is outstanding. Trail crew members wear safety gear including hard hats, sturdy and protective footwear, gloves, long-sleeve shirts and long pants. All maintenance outings start with a brief safety refresher. The work site may involve long-distance hiking while lugging trail tools. The dust and heat can be intense in the summer months, and it can be bitterly cold and windy in winter. Adequate advance preparation is key.

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But there is nothing like a day out on the trail getting dirty, watching wildlife, working hard and receiving satisfaction from an appreciative comment by a trail user.


The Trail Crew meets on the 2nd and 4th Saturday of each month (holidays excepted), starting out from the Roost headquarters.



There are typically only two or three winter storms in our mountains each year that are cold and strong enough to drop snow. When the storms move out, people flock to the mountain to frolic in the white stuff.

After the “snow-players” go away, members of the LMVA Mountain Area Removal Squad (MARS) move in.
It always amazes us how much litter is left behind after the snow melts. We have found virtually every article of clothing you can think of, money, electronics (cell phones), the remains of snow play toys, even half of a surfboard!

How did a coconut wind up at 6,000 feet? We don’t know, but we found it. Fast-food and drink containers make up the bulk of the remainder of the trash. But we once found a menu from a Chinese restaurant in Chula Vista, over 60 miles away. The trash left behind from just one snow-play event at just one of the snow-play locations on the mountain can completely fill up the back of a full-size pickup.

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Forest Path




Vivian Sartori, Interpretive Services

Happy New Year!

Let’s skip cold winter and think about the warm days of summer when campers, hikers, bikers, and riders abound. Our forest visitors have some amazing stories to tell – and so do you. One way to become more involved with these visitors is by becoming an interpreter. No foreign language required. Interpretation is the educational segment of volunteering on our beloved mountain. It’s fun and it’s easy. We’ll teach you how to share your love of our forest in a fun, easy, and enjoyable manner for all. Using the techniques you learn, plus the knowledge you already have, you will be able to lead a guided hike or guided walk, or present an activity just for children, or tell stories about the night sky, or present an evening campground program (aka “campfire” program).

Interpretive training is given in two sessions. The first on March 21 is an all-day session revealing the background and fundamentals of interpretation. The second on April 4 is an afternoon session in which we will begin putting your knowledge to work and creating an interpretive program. The Forest Service also requires an easy one-hour online course on the fundamentals of interpretation.

Details will be in the February Voice. In the meantime if you would like more information please contact me. See you on the mountain!

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Olive Grove



Special Projects are developed by LMVA or by the Forest Service. Most events are completed in one weekend, although occasionally a large project will take several weekends.
Some examples of Special Project are VIC renovation, Snow Play, Erosion Control (“Gully Busting”), and campground renovation including painting picnic tables, cleaning fire rings and site improvements. Two major events LMVA participated in were the renovation of the Boulder Oaks and Agua Dulce campgrounds. Other projects may include fence building, tree pruning, and planting.
It’s gratifying to see the results of your labor by the end of a weekend! If you are interested in helping, please contact us. We notify LMVA members of scheduled special projects through Volunteer Voice articles, e-mail or phone contact, or by having the Project chair notify the members directly.

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Kumeyaay Dwelling

LMVA participated with descendants of local Native Americans to build a typical Kumeyaay dwelling, called an “ewaa.”

Wood splitting



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