Field News Recap- August
Our Blue crew spent the first four weeks of their five month term they were at Crater Lake National Park, where they cleared 13.25 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail of downed trees using crosscuts. For their final week Blue was in the Rogue River Siskiyou National Forest working on the Hanging Rock trail, where they improved 1.31 miles of trail.
Red crew worked all over the state. Their first week was spent at Loon Lake, improving campgrounds and doing light trail maintenance. They then worked in the Rogue River Siskiyou National Forest, removing 12.76 acres of invasives and collecting seeds. Their final two weeks were at Saddle Mountain State Park, where they completed gabions baskets at the end of a challenging hike in. This wonderful work was fueled in part by 126 Kinder eggs.
Our Yellow crew spent their first week removing invasive plants at the Dean Creek Elk Viewing Area near Reedsport, then removing more invasive plants in the Rogue River Siskiyou National Forest. Their final two weeks were spent working on the Pacific Crest Trail in the Umpqua National Forest, where they did 3.5 miles of trail maintenance and cleared 50 drainage structures.
Orange crew began their season alongside Yellow crew, removing invasives at Dean Creek. They then moved to the Pacific Crest Trail in the Umpqua National Forest and, using crosscuts, cleared 9.2 miles of trail by removing 60 downed logs. Their final two weeks were spent in the Malheur National Forest, clearing 1.5 miles of trail and removing 6 downed logs.
The Washington Grey (Rainbow) crew spent the first three weeks camping in Mt. Rainier National Park. During their time, they had the opportunity to work on several projects. The crew counted peddles with the park geologist, they cleared a campground of debris, and built a dozen checks along the Naches Loop trail. For their final two weeks, the crew was in Lewis and Clark National Historical Park. Here, they helped remove scotch broom and partook in a ranger-led kayak tour.
The Washington Red crew started the session in Mt. Hood where they brushed and built tread along a 1.5-mile segment of new trail. Additionally, the crew learned how to split firewood. For their third week, the crew worked in one of the campgrounds at Olympic National Forest. While there, they installed new picnic tables and fire rings, painted restrooms, and filled potholes. For the last two weeks, the crew was in the Wenatchee River Ranger District. During their stay, the crew further improved their brushing and tread skills, completing 3 miles of trail repair.
The Washington Blue crew. In their first two weeks, the crew worked in the Eniat Ranger District. They completed 3.1 miles of maintenance along Middle Tommy Trail; the crew cleared brush, removed rocks, and rebuilt drains. Their third week was spent working in Mt. Hood National Forest where the crew reestablished tread and bucked out logs. The crew’s final two weeks were in Olympic National Forest. Here, they painted restrooms and learned how to use leaf blowers and brush cutters.
Our Yellow Crew overcame incredible challenges this session, including a roughly 2000’ elevation gain hike into their first week of work at Phoebe Meadows in the Payette National Forest. They completed a trail reroute which entailed digging almost a mile of brand-new trail to avoid the sensitive high alpine meadow. They also got to spend a week near the historic lake Roosevelt where they got to experience the usage of trail pack mules to assist in loading in their gear for the week. They finished off a turnpike project that the Montana Conservation Corps started but was unable to complete. Putting the final touches on a project can be some of the most satisfying trail work out there!
The Orange crew had a variety of work each week being different from the last. Started off doing trail work with the Beaur of Land Management out of the Twin Falls District doing some thinning of Doug firs that were encroaching on high alpine poplar stands that are common breeding grounds for elk. They then moved onto doing trail work near the city of rocks national monument on higher elevation trials around Cache Peak. Once completing trail work, they got to experience what it is like being a forester for the National Forest Service, conducting basic forestry observations of forest health, diversity, and inventory. Lastly, they finished off the season strong doing rock dams on ephemeral streams in southern Idaho. Preventing massive erosion and head cuts from forming during flood events in wet meadows of southern Idaho’s rangelands.
Red Crew overcame some unexpected change in plans from the get go of their season. After being briefed to hike almost 10 miles into a very remote section of the Frank Church wilderness of no Return (they were going to return!), the project got pulled. And this crew was exceptionally flexible as most conservation work must be. They ended up starting the season doing trail work with the Orange crew around Cache Peak. Then, we got them aligned with multiple weeks of backcountry trail work in the Strawberry wilderness in eastern Oregon. They spent a lot of time on the skyline trail of the wilderness, where they encountered numerous mountain goats! They experienced bazaar weather as well, including some 30 degree mornings in the summer.
Blue crew began their season in the Malheur National Forest doing a backlog of trail maintenance needs on multiple different trails. They even got their chance at pulling out the legendary crosscut saws. From there, they continued their Oregon trail to the Bonneville dam in the Colombia River Gorge. Improving the campgrounds and recreational areas of the dam where they see thousands of visitors annually. Once completed, after having some vehicle issues that were handled so well by the leaders, they headed back to Idaho to finish out their season with the Peyette Ranger District of the Boise National Forest completing work on the grizzly creek trail while battling the hot Idaho summers.