Youth Conservation Corps members work to install public fishing boardwalks at the Moose Range Meadows this summer. This year's participants were assistant leader Kendra Lucas, Kyle Nyitrai, Sarah Halama, Tim Baldwin, Angie King, Hector Rivera and leader Craig Moore.
Photo courtesy of the Kenai Nati
The Kenai National Wildlife Refuge’s 2006 Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) was once again a blazing success story. There were five 15-18-year-old girls and boys that did a mind-boggling amount of work during their eight-week program.
Most work involved helping maintaining the trails that people hike and ski at the refuge. They accomplished these tasks using only hand tools: loppers, hand saws, weed whips, pulaskis, rakes, shovels, and wheelbarrows.
Refuge staff evaluated proposals for YCC projects prior to the program’s June 12 starting date. Where departments in the refuge were short on manpower; the YCC crew eagerly volunteered to help get these jobs done.
One such task was helping put together the boardwalk for public fishing at Moose Range Meadows. Other projects combined the YCC’s environmental education topic “Leave No Trace” rehabilitation of the Funny River Road gravel pit at mile 8, and litter patrol at the Russian River Ferry. Bags and bags of trash and fishing line were recovered from the latter two projects.
Whenever you get a chance to hike the Keen Eye Trail, Centennial Trail and Hidden Creek Trail, you will see evidence of the YCC’s labors to improve the trail system. You will also encounter the YCC’s handiwork if you cross-country ski the Cheechako Loop, Howling Hill Loop or Nordic View Loop near the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters, or ride your horse on the Hansen Horse Trail.
YCC workers learned how to mix cement while setting a new fire ring at the Outdoor Education Center. They also replaced the old rock retaining walls with new timbers along the path leading to the fire ring.
If you go camping at Dolly Varden or Hidden Lake Campgrounds, you will see where the YCC crew removed brush along the roads and around the campsites. Perhaps the most obvious accomplishment was at the Moose Range Meadows parking areas, where the crew converted the landscape islands in the parking lots from weed beds to something more eye-appealing.
YCC performed many essential tasks in 2006; hopefully there will be funding available in 2007 to perform many more.
Craig Moore is a leader of the YCC program.
Previous Refuge Notebook articles can be viewed at Web site http://kenai.fws.gov/. You can check on new bird arrivals or report your bird sighting on the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge Birding Hotline at 262-2300.
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