AmeriCorps NCCC: Yakutat Benefits from Youth Team Action

In 2016, the Tongass National Forest, Yakutat Ranger District benefited enormously from a new partnership with AmeriCorps NCCC (National Civilian Community Corps). Over the course of 4 months in the Spring and Summer of 2016, an AmeriCorps NCCC team of 18-25 year olds worked hand-in-hand with the Forest Service, the Yakutat Tlingit Tribe, the City of Yakutat, and other community partners to accomplish a wide-ranging set of projects important the entire community. 

Drawn from the successful models of the Civilian Conservation Corps of the 1930s and the U.S. military, AmeriCorps NCCC is built on the belief that civic responsibility is an inherent duty of all citizens and that national service programs work effectively with local communities to address pressing needs. AmeriCorps NCCC’s mission is to strengthen communities and develop leaders through direct, team-based national and community service.

In Yakutat, the members of AmeriCorps NCCC Team Blue succeeded in fulfilling this mission and accomplishing incredible results:

  • Replacement of the Cannon Beach picnic shelter and repair of three tent platforms along the beach.
  • Construction of the Lower Tawah Creek Trail that was about half a mile of gravel and GeoBlock insulation.
  • Performed cabin maintenance and projects at the Italio River Forest Service Cabin and brushed and installed runway markers at the Italio River cabin airstrip.
  • Improvements to the Puget Cove Trail to significantly improve access.
  • Organization of a community softball league.
  • Coordination with city workers to lay gravel and remove brush on the Barney Henniger and Monti Bay Heights trails.

As they approached their graduation from the program and were set to leave Alaska, team members left tributes to the Forest Service, the state, and most of all, the community of Yakutat. Here are just a couple:

I had no idea what to expect when I came to Yakutat other than tons of rain and beautiful forest. I could not have known that I would fall in love with the wilderness or meet incredible people who would make such a positive impact on my stay.  Thank you so much to everyone who has made us feel welcomed and at home here for these past four months.  This has been such a magical experience.” Erin Dye, AmeriCorps NCCC Team Member

 “Community, people, wildlife, and scenery of Yakutat—I am going to miss you so much! This has been an amazing experience in one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. Thank you people of Yakutat for welcoming me into your community.  Yakutat holds a special place in my heart forever and I can’t wait to come back again someday.” Marlie Reed, AmeriCorps NCCC Team Member

The feeling is mutual. AmeriCorps NCCC and the remarkable, young team members who served enthusiastically this year hold a special place in hearts and minds of the Yakutat community, the Yakutat Ranger District, and the Tongass National Forest. We are looking forward to future opportunities to work in partnership with the organization and more AmeriCorps NCCC team members.

Team Blue Janay Ruzicka working on the Lower Tawah Creek Trail

Janay Ruzicka, AmeriCorps NCCC member, takes a smile break while working on trail maintenance in Yakutat.


Team Blue Molly Cassidy Cutting a tree

Molly Cassidy, AmeriCorps NCCC member, achieving results for the Italio River Cabin and airstrip project.