Trail Talk: A Behind the Scenes Look into GTNP’s Youth Conservation Program – Week Two

Week two of YCP started with a drain cleaning extravaganza in Granite Canyon. The crew made it all the way to the Granite Patrol Cabin for a round trip of almost 13 miles, and the team is quickly becoming experts in trail maintenance. Tuesday brought a welcome change of pace and opportunity to rest tired feet. Deputy Chief of Interpretation Mike Nicklas instructed the crew how to properly maintain the historic Menor’s Ferry in order to keep it afloat for summer visitors. A lightening storm (complete with hail) put a halt to the group’s efforts, and they were forced to retreat to Maud Noble’s homestead for refuge. However, the day was not lost, more drains awaited the team at the Laurence S. Rockefeller preserve.

YCP learning from Grand Teton’s rock-splitting experts.

The NPS trail crew has taken note of YCP’s hard-working reputation and provided the crew with an opportunity to move a ton of rock (quite literally) at the Jenny Lake work site. In exchange, YCP received a demonstration on how to split rocks using hand tools called plugs, feathers, and donuts. Some highlights of the day included another thunderstorm and spotting a black bear sow with cub foraging near the work site. Thursday brought an interesting and informative meeting with NPS sound ecologist Shan Burson. Five groups of YCP members explored different trail systems and canyons noting visitor encounters and the different sounds of the landscape. All in all, it was a great second week of the YCP season.

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