Back in 1999 I pondered, “What else can I do with this company to make a difference?” With my love of the outdoors, and knowledge of topographic surveys and their place in the land planning process, I set out to do what we do best, in the places we enjoy most. I wrote letters to park superintendents all over California offering free surveys. Immediately, they were calling to see what we could do. This was the beginning of the annual U&R company volunteer survey trips. In 15 years we have worked in the national parks of Yosemite and Lassen, and the state parks of Angel Island, Andrew Molera, Point Lobos, Henry Coe, Gilroy Hot Springs, and Pfeiffer Big Sur.
Each year we plan a three-day surveying and camping trip, where everyone in the office, not just surveyors, helps with the surveying tasks and campground chores. We are joined by family and friends and even some past employees, such as Jay Wright of Footsteps Surveying. Everyone enjoys the comradery and adventure. In recent years we have added a deluxe chuck wagon trailer and home-cooked meals provided by our architect friend, Torin Knorr. Torin donates his services in trade for U&R making a generous cash donation to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and sponsoring his boat in the Leukemia Cup Regatta.
In 2013, U&R completed a very intense topographic survey for a new hiking trail to access the base of Pfeiffer Falls in Big Sur. This new trail will replace one that was wiped out by forest fires several years ago. Our volunteer efforts assist State Park Civil Engineer, Joan Carpenter, and others to boost their projects higher up on the State’s funding priority list. It is a wonderful feeling to know we really can make a difference.