Communications Staff

Field News Recap- June 2024

We are excited to share the latest updates from our Northwest Youth Corps crews for the month of June. Our members have been hard at work on various projects, developing skills and making significant contributions to our public lands. Here’s a detailed look at what our crews have accomplished this month: Oregon:   In the first week, Orange Crew began their journey with a developed recreation project, cleaning up a campground in southern Oregon in partnership with the Roseburg Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to ensure it was ready for the summer season. During the second week, they ventured into the backcountry of the Umatilla National Forest with the Blue Mountain Land Trust. Here, they learned to use crosscut saws alongside volunteers, logging out the trail and enhancing their trail maintenance skills. In the third week, continuing their backcountry adventures, the crew worked in the Siuslaw National Forest, performing tread repair along the North Fork Smith River, helping to preserve these beautiful natural areas for future visitors. Red Crew dedicated the first three weeks of June to working in the Mount Hood National Forest. They focused on the Camas Creek and Clear Creek trails, as well as the McCubbins Gulch OHV […]

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Fire atop Skinner Butte raises fireworks concern in Eugene

(Originally posted on The Register-Guard on July 2, 2024 – Photos from Eugene Springfield Fire Department and Eugene Parks and Open Space) By Haleigh Kochanski A half-acre brush fire erupted at the top of Skinner Butte in Eugene early Tuesday morning and fire officials think it may have been caused by fireworks. According to the Eugene Springfield Fire Department, firefighters were called to the butte at 12:15 a.m. where they worked quickly to contain a fire estimated at half an acre. It took first responders about two hours to fully extinguish hot spots. The site of the fire had just undergone vegetation management by Eugene Parks and Open Space in partnership with the Eugene Rotary Club and Twin River Charter School. On June 24, workers trimmed grasses in the area, which Eugene officials say likely reduced the intensity of Tuesday’s fire. “This timely action underscores the importance of ongoing maintenance and hazard reduction in preserving the safety of our natural areas,” Kelly Shadwick, spokesperson for Eugene Parks and Open Space, said in a news release. According to Shadwick, fuel mitigation efforts at the park have focused on removing non-native shrubs and small trees that have invaded a significant portion of

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Crews extinguish early morning fire atop Skinner Butte

(Originally posted on KLCC on June 27, 2024 – Photos from Eugene Springfield Fire) By Love Cross Eugene Springfield Fire responded to a brush fire at the top of Skinner Butte in Eugene early Tuesday morning. Firefighters were called to the butte at 12:15 a.m. and contained the fire, estimated at half an acre. It took two hours to fully extinguish hot spots. There were no injuries reported. Witnesses said fireworks may have been the cause. In a news release Tuesday, Eugene Parks officials said the area had recently been treated for fuels reduction by Parks and Open Space in partnership with the Eugene Rotary Club and Twin Rivers Charter School. “On June 24, grasses in the area were trimmed, a preventative measure that likely reduced the intensity of the fire. This timely action underscores the importance of ongoing maintenance and hazard reduction in preserving the safety of our natural areas,” the press release said. With the Fourth of July holiday approaching, the public is reminded fireworks are not allowed within Eugene city limits, including parks and natural areas.

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A Summer of Service at Grays Lake

(Originally posted to CaribouCountyNews.com on June 27, 2024) The Grays Lake Refuge includes both riparian areas, which are muddy and wet, and these meadowlands, which are where the cattle are part of a management strategy. This summer, the Grays Lake National Wildlife Refuge 30 miles north of Soda Springs had a new group of visitors.  While the area is set aside as a refuge for wildlife with, in many cases, seasonal migratory habits, it also hosted a group of young people from around the country for several weeks.  In cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Grays Lake Wildlife Specialist Dana Duran, the Idaho Conservation Corps sent a group of seven individuals to help with projects related to the area’s mission to preserve the local ecology and wildlife. Conservation is also something that Fish and Wildlife’s Dana Duran places a high value on.  As the primary overseer of the Grays Lake area, she’s committed to making sure that the area stays well managed for both human and wildlife needs.   Dana Duran began her work at Grays Lake last October, and she’s still getting to know the Gray’s Lake Marsh and the ecosystem, though she seems to have

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Field News Recap- May 2024

Oregon:   May was an exciting month in Oregon with the graduation of four Young Adult crews on May 18th and the launch of the first Youth crew on May 24th. The Blue crew improved trails and recreation areas in the Siuslaw National Forest. The Yellow crew completed invasive plant removal near the John Day Dam with the Army Corps of Engineers before transitioning to developed recreation work in the Umpqua National Forest. The Orange crew improved developed recreation facilities in the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area and later worked on invasive plant removal along the McKenzie River with the Pure Water Partnership. The Red crew finished their season at the Biocycle Farm and partnered with the Nature Conservancy in the Columbia Basin for invasive plant removal. The Tribal Stewards crew, comprised of students from the Chemawa Indian School in Salem, OR, also began their program. After finishing classes on May 24th, eight participants joined the Eugene headquarters for orientation before starting trail work at Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve. This crew will continue until July 20th, graduating alongside five other youth crews launching in June. Oregon Program Leader Amanda Wallace says, “We were incredibly fortunate to have worked

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Field News Recap- April 2024

Oregon:   Oregon’s spring young adult blue crew started the month with two weeks of work along the McKenzie River with the Pure Water Partners (PWP). Northwest Youth Corps has worked with Pure Water Partners to restore habitat that was destroyed by the 2020 Holiday Farm Fire since PWP’s inception. Blue crew later served with the Siuslaw National Forest, where they improved recreational facilities for a week. For the final two weeks of April the crew served with Oregon Parks and Recreation Department at Cape Falcon State Park where they restored tread along the Oregon Coast Trail. Yellow crew started their month with the Medford Bureau of Land Management (BLM), rerouting the Upper Table Rock Trail. They then improved campsites and other developed recreation sites at the Eel Creek Campground with the Siuslaw National Forest. They spent one week with Oregon Equestrian Trails brushing and widening their trail system. And for the last two weeks of April, Yellow crew removed Russian olive, black locust, and other invasive tree species with the Army Corps of Engineers at Irrigon Parks and Recreation District.   Orange crew began their month working with the City of Springfield at The Biocycle Farm, planting and maintaining poplar trees that will eventually

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Field News Recap- March 2024

Oregon: This month, Northwest Youth Corps’ (NYC) newest program, the Urban Community Forestry (UCF) program, has worked long days cutting, hauling and chipping debris left over from the devastating ice storm that hit Eugene and the lower McKenzie River Valley from January 13th-17th. Their worksites have included many local parks in Eugene and Springfield as well as residential areas that were hit particularly hard. Many of these community parks and recreation spaces have been closed off to the public do to the dangerous scattered debris. Though this storm clean up can be monotonous and grueling work, the crews have kept after it, often returning to NYC’s headquarters at the end of a long day tired but propped up by enormous gratitude from the community.  One UCF crew was assigned to assist with park cleanup efforts at the Mt. Pisgah Arboretum and Howard Buford Recreation Area. With help from local volunteers and Mt. Pisgah staff, these parks were able to reopen March 15th. Members of the public were thrilled to see the parks reopened, and their enthusiasm helped to keep the crew’s morale high as they cleaned up the final section of the parking lot. Most of the work was chipping

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Leave It to Beavers – Renewing rivers one rodent at a time

Originally from: https://www.patagonia.ca/stories/leave-it-to-beavers/story-149108.htmlBy: Amanda Monthei All photos by Greg Mionske It’s barely above 50 degrees in a mountain meadow at the headwaters of the John Day River, deep in the Blue Mountains of Eastern Oregon. Dew soaks the ground, and the consensus is that today’s work conditions are already significantly better than yesterday’s. “It was the hardest day this year,” says Alex, a 19-year-old Northwest Youth Corps crew member sipping coffee from a mug covered in faded stickers. A random thunderstorm blew through yesterday morning and caught him without his rain jacket. Weather and morale have improved significantly in the last 24 hours. Alex and the rest of the four-person crew from the conservation service and job-training program, as well as three Trout Unlimited employees, pull on mud-caked boots and waders, finish coffees and collect their tools—chainsaws, an errant bundle of shovels, towers of five-gallon buckets, branch loppers and wooden posts shaped like enormous pencils, shouldered two at a time. “If all goes according to plan, a passing beaver might see these human-made dams, complemented by the soft, pooling water they love, and think, ‘This is nice … but I could do better.’” Shifts start at 7 a.m., and although

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