Passport in Time Program

Volunteers in the U.S. Forest Service’s Passport in Time (PIT) Program work directly on research and management activities in the National Forest System. The goal of PIT is “to preserve the nation’s past with the help of the public.” Volunteers are involved in a variety of projects, including archaeological survey and excavation, rock art restoration, survey, archival research, historic structure restoration, oral history gathering, and analysis and curation of artifacts. Over the years, volunteers have done everything from stabilizing ancient cliff dwellings, to restoring historic lookout towers, to cleaning vandalized rock art.

PIT project leaders determine when and how to engage the public in their project. The project leader designs and implements the project, while directly overseeing the volunteers. Some PIT projects require volunteers to have certain skills or experience, but many projects provide the required training on site. The PIT Clearinghouse, currently run by the SRI Foundation non-profit, provides a toll-free number for program information and a public Web site. The Web site provides an online application for interested participants.

Most PIT projects would never happen without volunteer involvement. Because of budget, time, and personnel constraints, Forest Service personnel rarely are able to carry out the projects completed through the PIT program. PIT volunteers learn and enjoy their program experience while helping the Forest Service be a good steward of its historic properties.

From 1989 to 2009, more than 29,000 volunteers contributed time valued at more than $21 million. Other federal agencies, including the Bureau of Land Management, recently have also started to partner with PIT to further increase volunteer opportunities.

Designated a Preserve America Steward in January 2009.