Guadalupe Mountains National Park's release with you:
National Park Service Volunteer Rob Junell made his 99th ascent of Guadalupe Peak, the highest peak in the State of Texas at 8,749 feet above sea level, this past Saturday, and plans on reaching the centennial mark on Veterans Day, November 11, 2011.
Junell, of Midland, TX, has been a Volunteer-In-Parks (VIP) at Guadalupe Mountains National Park since August 2009. As a park volunteer, Junell assists park staff, patrolling park trails, assisting park visitors, answering questions, providing first aid when needed, and being eyes and ears of park rangers on the trail.
One of the things that Junell enjoys most about his volunteer service at Guadalupe Mountains National Park is meeting park visitors from all around the world. Junell, a federal judge in the West District of Texas and a former Texas State Representative, first climbed to the summit of Guadalupe Peak in 2003 while training for a climb in the Andes Mountains, and continues to use the hike as part of his training regimen. However, Junell says he did not start out with the idea of climbing Guadalupe Peak 100 times. It was during the last year with fires closing the Lincoln National Forest and other areas that Junell used to train, that he found himself hiking the Guadalupe Peak Trail with greater frequency and the idea was born. An avid mountain climber, skier and outdoorsman, Junell has scaled mountains in North and South America, Asia and Africa. Junell also puts his conditioning and medical skills to use as a member of the Ski Apache ski patrol. It is believed that Junell will be the first person to ascend to the top of Guadalupe Peak 100 times.
Guadalupe Mountains National Park Superintendent Dennis A. Vásquez said, “This is truly an amazing accomplishment. We do not know of anyone else who has ascended Guadalupe Peak as many times and it is unlikely that anyone will match this feat.”
Regarding his accomplishment, Junell said, “This isn’t about me. It’s about the park and what a treasure it is for the state of Texas and the United States. There is really something for everyone, from day trips to camping out at Pine Springs or at one of the backcountry campgrounds. I just think it is a great way to get out of the day-to-day routine.”
During fiscal year 2011 (October 1, 2010 through September 30, 2011), 83 volunteers donated 13,432 hours of service at Guadalupe Mountains National Park, assisting park staff at the Pine Springs Visitor Center, Frijole Ranch History Museum, the McKittrick Canyon, Dog Canyon and Salt Basin Dunes Visitor Contact Stations, as campground hosts at the Pine Springs and Dog Canyon campgrounds, and presenting interpretation and education programs to visitors. Volunteers assisted with caring for the park’s museum
collection, with inventory and monitoring of natural resources, with historic structure preservation, and assisting park visitors while patrolling trails and trail maintenance. Some, such as Junell, come for a day or two at a time, while others come from across the country and commit for months at a time.
To learn more about the Volunteers-In-Parks Program at Guadalupe Mountains National Park, contact the park Volunteer Coordinator, Craig Tanner at 915-828-3251 x2311 or Craig_E_Tanner@nps.gov, or visit
www.nps.gov/gumo/supportyourpark/volunteer.htm. To learn what volunteer opportunities are currently available at Guadalupe Mountains National Park or to apply, visit www.volunteer.gov/gov/.