YCC student, Brittany, puts out fire during staff training.
Week 8: "Adieu"
Week 7: "Summer Reflections"
This summer, we participated in the Youth Conservation Corps, which is a program for High School students to experience working at various National Parks around the United States. We worked at the Lewis and Clark National Historical Park for eight weeks on projects like clearing trails, weeding invasive plants, painting the visitor center, and assisting with Junior Ranger Program. Usually the park has two students working each summer, but this year they decided to hire eight students instead. Working here together was a great experience for all for us.
When we went camping at Mt. Rainier, we worked with their resource division. While there, we pulled invasive plants and learned about about their invasives at their park as opposed to ours. As well as pulling weeds, we also hiked some of the trails and explored their visitor center. "Being at our campsite was peaceful, fun, awesome, quiet, and just plain amazing!" said YCC Angelica Garcia.
Working at Lewis and Clark National Historical Park wasn't always as easy as it may appear. We learned what we liked and did not like to do working together on and off the trails. We had to be flexible, work hard, and have determination in pulling that final root! "We like weeding because it gives us time to think, " said Sidney Johnson and Angelica Garcia. Overall, working here at the park has been the most awesome experience in meeting and working with amazing people.
-Brittany Olsen, Sidney Johnson, and Angelica Garcia
YCC students and Lewis and Clark park staff at Mount Rainier National Park
Week 6: "The Lewis and Clark Youth Conservation Corps students explore Mount Rainier National Park!"
Youth Conservation Corps students at Mt. Rainier National Park. Left to right: Roland, Jon, Mackenzie, Brittany, Angelica, Sidney
Week 5: "Brittany's Perspective on the Camping Trip to Mount Rainier National Park"
A couple of weeks back we were asked to sign some papers to go on a camping trip to Mt. Rainier National Park. At first I wasn’t really thrilled to be going camping for three days, to somewhere I’ve never been before. But I thought about it and decided I’d give it a shot. When the deadline came to turn in our papers I was kind of glad to be going because that meant I’d be out of town for a while. The night before we were leaving to Mt. Rainier, I made Frog Eye Salad and Strawberry Pretzel salad for everyone. I don’t think people were too excited about eating my Frog Eye Salad, but I reassured them that there were no frog eyes in the dish.
In the morning we got all of our things piled into our two cars. After a lot of laughter and jokes we fell into a four hour sleep while Ranger Zach, our driver, drove in peace, finally.
I personally have never been to a national park before, but being at Mt. Rainier really makes me want to go and visit others. The mountain itself is beautiful and the park is kept really well. It’s a wonderful place to have experienced.
When we went to set up our tents it was quite entertaining to see how much we knew about putting one piece to another. When we finally figured the pieces out, our tent was like a mansion in the forest. When we were getting ready to go on our hikes, I was a little nervous because I’m not an extreme hiker. After hiking up Skyline Trail I felt that I could hike anything after that, especially the trail to Bench Lake. Living in Utah for the majority of my life made the snow on Mt. Rainier nothing new to what I’ve seen before. When we got down to Bench Lake, I wasn’t intending to swim. I don’t know how to swim and never thought I’d try to swim in a lake either for the first time. I finally gave in to Lori’s (park ranger) peer pressure and got in the lake. I was scared at first, but as I swam further I started to enjoy it. Knowing that I semi-know how to swim, made my day.
When we went up to the visitor center there, we asked for junior ranger booklets. It was fun seeing what they had in their books compared to our park. I really wanted my badge from there, but we didn’t make it back to turn it in. The second day there we went and worked with some of their rangers. They were picking Canada thistle, an invasive weed. It was nice working with all of them as a team, and we got the work done fast. That night we sang songs around the campfire and ate smore’s; it was a blast. It makes it more enjoyable when you’re singing in a British accent.
I would have to say that being with my co-workers the whole time and getting to know them was the best thing out of camping, and seeing the mountain of course. All in all our drive back was nice and long, and I really enjoyed camping with my co-workers.
Youth Conservation Corps Student: Roland Johansen inviting visitors into Fort Clatsop
Week 4: "Roland's Reflections on working at Fort Clatsop"
Youth Conservation Corps student Angelica and Park Ranger Josh building the South Clatsop Slough trail.
Week 3: "Angelica's View"
Working at Lewis and Clark National Historical Park has been one of the best experiences in my life. If I was to tell you all the details from each job we do I would not finish telling you about it. I don’t have a favorite activity, but I will tell you about building the new trail with maintenance- nice and fun people. Building trails takes time and steps to do. As Park Rangers Blake and Doug clear the way by the cutting trees and branches, we, the YCC students and Park Ranger Lori and Josh follow with the next steps. After the way is clear we start using the Pulaskis’ we try to not dig too much or too little. A Pulaski is a tool with two different pointy sides one is like a pick ax and the other side, an ax head on its side. When that is done we follow by raking all the dirt, leaves and roots from the trees. We even out the trail so it’s not too bumpy or too tilted to a side. If it has holes we fill them with dirt. After the trail is even and wide enough to walk on, the rangers start hauling gravel in the toter, a motorized wheel barrel. We rake it well so that way when it rains it doesn’t get muddy. This past 5 weeks or so have been very productive! I can see that having more hands working in the trail can really decrease the time to fully complete the trail.
All in all, building trails can sometimes be harder (heavier) than working in the Visitor Center, the Fort, Administration and Resource management, but it is interesting in a different way. I thank all the rangers and staff members for giving me this opportunity of working here and helping with this new trail project. I recommend that people come and hike this new trail. Even though it’s not quite complete I can see there has been a great amount of work done.