Trail Talk: Behind the Scenes with the Youth Conservation Program, Week 3

Crew members clear avalanche debris from the trail.
Crew members clear avalanche debris from the trail.

On Monday, the crew hiked up Granite Canyon to help NPS employees clear a path through an avalanche that occurred during winter. No one was expecting to shovel snow at the end of June, especially with the warm weather we’ve had the past few weeks. YCP helped haul away the log debris and started to dig a path through the snow to uncover more trees for NPS to cut out. Now the trail is ready for use this summer.

The crew worked to clear the Death Canyon trail on both Tuesday and Wednesday, helping to create safe passage for hikers and packers. This involved moving large loose rocks off the trail, trimming branches that were in the trail corridor, and clearing drains. The group’s confidence and skill level continues to grow as the days go by.

Crew members clear rocks from the Death Canyon trail.

YCP experienced their first educational day on Thursday—a sound ecology study with the park’s social scientist.  This has been happening with the YCP since 2014 and is now becoming a steady data point for Grand Teton National Park.  The group was split into two teams—one went up Cascade Canyon and the other went to Open Canyon and Phelps Lake.  The groups recorded human encounters they had in fifteen-minute intervals, reoccurring human-made sounds, as well as other the sounds they heard during the hike. The Cascade Canyon group recorded 415 human encounters at Inspiration Point in one of their fifteen-minute blocks, while the Open Canyon group counted eighteen human encounters as their biggest fifteen-minute block. Sounds varied from music, to birds, to people talking, to moving streams.

Starting this week, the crew leaders assigned two YCP leads to help foster communication and teamwork skills within the program. The YCP leads this week were Nathalie and Ripley, who both exceled at organizing their teams, ensuring everyone was doing well and that the goals of the day were clear. Everyone was in good spirits, even with the very warm weather.

Get the latest news right to your inbox!

Looking for more?

Sign up for our featured park happenings, winter adventure ideas, wildlife spotting, and more!

Scroll to Top