Trail Talk: Behind the scenes with Grand Teton National Park’s Youth Conservation Program – Week 8

YCP spent the eigth week of their season camping and working out of the Lower Berry Patrol Cabin in the seldom-visited northern canyons of Grand Teton. This backcountry hitch provides an opportunity for the crew to not only work together on the trail, but also to cook together and experience what it is like to operate as a backcountry crew. There was also plenty of time after work for the crew to get to know each other better through some good old-fashioned games.

When it came time to work, the crew continued the long-standing YCP tradition of rehabbing old trail in Webb Canyon. The trail in this area of the park is commonly overgrown. To add to their workload, the Berry Creek Fire roared through the canyon and destroyed vast swaths of vegetation in 2016, leaving behind very erosive soils and a more challenging task for YCP. In their 4 days of work, they installed more than 20 rock steps on the trail to curb further erosion.

YCP members get down and dirty installing checks to prevent erosion on a section of trail burned by the 2016 Berry Creek Fire—the largest fire in Grand Teton National Park’s history.

The finished product in Webb Canyon. Dry-stone masonry like this will prevent erosion for hundreds of years.

The crew also spent time re-painting the Lower Berry Patrol Cabin. The park’s patrol cabins provide a very convenient and comfortable base-camp for YCP and numerous other divisions in Grand Teton while working in the field. Without YCP’s efforts to maintain the cabin, it would likely fall quickly into disrepair as it is exposed to the dramatic elements of local weather throughout the year.

YCP was all smiles while working on the Lower Berry Patrol Cabin!

All in all, it was a great week for the YCP. As they close in on the end of their season, this backcountry hitch was a true reward for their hard work.

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