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Helen Hankins

Helen Hankins at the California Trail Interpretive Center

ELKO – Helen Hankins was named Volunteer of the Year at the California Trail Interpretive Center for 2018 during its recent volunteer appreciation event.

Hankins has served the site in diverse ways, from volunteering at special events such as California Trail Days and Pioneer Christmas, to serving as president of the California Trail Heritage Alliance.

Hankins has served as president of the Alliance for over four years.

Under her leadership, the Alliance has received approximately $450,000 in grants to assist the Trail Center with marketing and promotion, including print, television, billboard, internet and multimedia advertising.

“Helen has consistently helped the Trail Center with our mission, which is to connect visitors to the California Trail experience,” said Supervisory Park Ranger Alex Rose. “The marketing efforts from the Alliance allow us to reach broader markets, and promote both the Trail Center and Elko County tourism.”

Over the last four years, Rose said Hankins has “done it all,” from presenting public programs at the site, to providing visitor orientations at the front desk.

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Other award recipients were Randy Powell and Bill Nisbet, second and third place for volunteer hours served. Isabel Sanchez received the Rookie of the Year award for translating Trail Center exhibit text into Spanish and creating a Spanish guide for the site. Christine Wheeler received a special award for assisting the Trail Center with marketing and visitor research.

For more information about volunteer opportunities at the Trail Center, contact Park Ranger and Volunteer Coordinator Greg Feathers at 775-738-1849.

The mission of the California Trail Heritage Alliance is to enhance the California Trail experience for the community, visiting public, and future generations through education, outreach and trail preservation.

For more information, email

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