Last week, a crew of eight Chugach Children’s Forest youth (called the Chugach Forest Conservation Crew) began four weeks on Chugach National Forest. In partnership with the Student Conservation Association, eight youth have been hired as crew members to work on the forest during the summer of 2017. The crew is made up of Alaskan youth from Girdwood, Chugiak, Cordova, Anchorage and Eagle River.
The first two weeks will be spent on the Kenai Peninsula doing trail, cabin work and a Juneau Creek Road Archaeology project of cache identification and survey. Led by trail maintenance supervisor Claire Shipton, the crew will work on Resurrection Pass Trail and Carter Lake Trail, repairing small bridges, treading the trails and doing trail drainage repairs.
Additionally, the crew will work on maintenance on Romig and Swan Lake cabins led by Pat Cook, cabin crew supervisor. Projects on the Seward District were identified by and are being overseen by Jesse Labenski, recreation staff officer, and Sherry Kime, Kenai Zone archaeologist.
The final two weeks of crew time will be spent doing kayak-based coastal cleanup in Prince William Sound. The crew will water taxi to Granite Mine area for several days of work cleaning up non-historic trash and other maintenance and restoration work led by Tim Lydon and then kayak to Harriman Fiord to naturalize dispersed campsites and check for and remove dandelions.
In addition to trail work and clean-up projects, this crew will build leadership skills, learn about being stewards for public lands, and explore careers with the Forest Service and other public lands agencies and conservation organizations. These skills will be applied when they go back home, strengthening the work they do at the community level.