The first of two Tribal Youth Corps sessions wrapped up at the beginning of July and this group of teens accomplished an incredible amount of work in Grand Teton National Park. The crew of six students from the nearby Wind River Reservation spent three weeks working, learning, and recreating in the park, leaving with a greater understanding of what it takes to maintain and protect this stunning resource. The paid internship provides participants with new job skills and a better idea of careers within the National Park Service.
The first Tribal Youth Corps crew spent their term maintaining Grand Teton’s cultural resources and trail system. Mormon Row, Hunter Hereford Ranch, Lucas Fabian Homestead, and Menor’s Ferry received some much-needed attention from the youth corps. While working on these historical treasures, students learned how to repair and replace various types of fencing, mitigate erosion and invasive species around buildings, and stabilize walls and structures. Crew members also acquired skills in brushing corridors, building drains, and finishing tread on trails at Death Canyon, Taggart Lake, and Triangle X Ranch. Each Tribal Youth Corps participant contributed over 120 hours to these projects that the park would not have accomplished otherwise.
In addition to completing much-needed work throughout Grand Teton, Tribal Youth Corps participants learned about different professional opportunities within the park service. Crew members completed a 2-day archaeological survey in the Colter Bay area. They assisted park archaeologists by walking transects across the survey area and identifying and recording any prehistoric or historic material that they found. Interns also attended a science and resource management division meeting, which included introductions, program overviews, and safety protocols. Tribal Youth Corps members greatly benefit from these opportunities by gaining a diversity of skills and experiences that will help them make future educational and career choices.
Although the main focus of this program is to provide a paid-internship and job skills training for young American Indians, participants also get to spend their weekends taking advantage of outdoor recreation opportunities in Grand Teton National Park. Backpacking, boating, and camping are just some of the many adventures these teens get to experience during their time off.
Thanks to all of the Tribal Youth Corps participants and our partners—Grand Teton National Park and Montana Conservation Corps—for making the first session of the 2017 program a huge success! The second session is underway and we look forward to sharing their impact on the park soon.