Wilderness for beginners

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Courtesy Scott Sandars/Flickr
Wilderness volunteers

Not everyone wants to spend a week in the Utah wilderness and, let's say, rip out invasive olive trees. Or volunteer outdoors anywhere during a vacation, for that matter.

But what if you were told that, for only $300 (plus your own airfare), you could have a getaway outdoors at your choice of a gorgeous setting in Hawaii, Arizona, or elsewhere in America?

And what if that opportunity included a chance to be physically active, make new friends, and indulge in some digital detox—unplugging yourself from our stressed-out world?

Maybe this idea has something to it after all, right?

Since 1997, the nonprofit group Wilderness Volunteers has been organizing volunteer service to America's wild lands.

First-timers are allowed to make reservations for this year's line-up of trips in January of each year. So book your trips now for departures later this year. By March, it may be too late, as all slots may be filled.

For details on applying, visit wildernessvolunteers.org.

Other great options—typically costing a little more—include Volunteer Vacations, run by the American Hiking Society, and Outings, run by the Sierra Club.

For more planning tips, check out our recent story "Ask Trip Coach: Volunteer Vacations."

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