Trail Talk: A Window into Grand Teton National Park’s Youth Conservation Program – Week 3

Team Building

The YCP crew conquering team challenges before the real work began on Monday morning.

This week marks the first week that it has not rained, sleeted, or snowed on a member of the 2014 YCP team. With the sun there comes a plethora of work to do in Grand Teton National Park. The crew prepared for the hard endeavors on the horizon with some team building activities on Monday morning.

In addition to continuing the project on the Bradley Lake bridge, the team joined fire module crews to assist in a fuels reduction project on the Signal Mountain Road. Fuel reduction projects are integral to mitigating future wildfire hazards. By removing fuels from an area that has the potential to burn, fuel reduction makes wildfires easier to both manage and suppress. The YCP crew performed fire mitigation work on 12 acres of steep terrain by collecting cut brush and logs and stacking them into piles. Fire crew members will burn the piles in the late fall when conditions are safe to do so.

“I learned how burn piles make a difference in stopping fire from growing. I really enjoyed the smell of all the trees that I made into piles.” -Miriam

The group also teamed up with the vegetation management crew and removed invasive plants such as hounds tongue, thistle, and spotted knapweed along Cottonwood Creek. Because these plants have few natural enemies and a high reproductive capacity, they can easily take over important native plants in an ecosystem. Crew members worked hard in the hot summer sun to remove about 30,000 invasive plants on a mile stretch of Cottonwood Creek. The sun was not the only thing to battle, the mosquitoes were out in force and biting ants quickly overtook the shady lunch spot. YCP members finished the work week by collecting native plants seeds to be used in future vegetation restoration on the Jenny Lake Renewal Project.

As we move into July, the YCP members will have plenty of time to rest on this holiday weekend to prepare for more hard work to come!

Pulling weeds with a view

YCP team members pulling weeds along Cottonwood Creek.

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