It is hard to believe the Youth Conservation Program is already closing in on the end of another great season in Grand Teton. Week eight was a success with the crew improving trails and visitor experiences while learning about unique career opportunities in national parks.
The week began with a hike through huckleberries up Paintbrush Canyon where YCP took care of some very overgrown vegetation. Known as brushing, this is no easy task! The willows had become so large that the trail had disappeared in places, creating an unsafe environment for possible encounters with wildlife. Brushing is slow and tedious but, with a crew like this, it is amazing to see how quickly the trail can be cleared.
During the middle of the week, the crew made their way to Phelps Lake where they assessed and relocated two benches that were beginning to deteriorate. Erosion is the number one enemy of trails and trail structures, and YCP took great care to decide where to relocate the benches with erosion control in mind. After making sure the viewshed from the benches remained the same in their new locations, they ensured that they were stable, level, and at a good height for hikers to relax while enjoying a break.
The team wrapped up the week with an educational day working with park employees in the Cultural Resource Division. They started the day meeting with the park archeologist at Jenny Lake to learn about Native American history in Grand Teton. Next up was a visit to the park's archives in Moose. After a quick snack break, they made their way to the Mormon Row Historic District where they learned about the current restoration project taking place on the Pink House. It was a jam packed day with this division! In the afternoon, YCP spent time at a pre-historic site and gained skills on how to identify such sites and pre-historic objects. They finished the day by heading into Jackson and visiting two museums, including the Jackson Hole Historical Society Museum.
Thank you to all of the NPS employees in the Cultural Resource Division for their time and knowledge this week!