BANDY CREEK — High school students were selected from McCreary Central High School in Kentucky and Oneida High School in Tennessee to work on a summer program with the Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) at Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area. These young adults rehabilitated 45 campsites at Blue Heron Campground located in Stearns, Kentucky. Students removed encroaching grass and vegetation; leveled the gravel surface of the tent pads; and repaired and/or replaced campsite features including 4’x6’ log timbers, lantern posts, and fire rings.
Additional education allowed the students to explore Yahoo Falls and Twin Arches Loop trails while gaining understanding and appreciation of wildlife, aquatic species, plants, geology and cultural landscapes. Rock climbing at Obed Wild and Scenic River in Morgan County, created life-long memories for everyone. Lessons were learned on the impact that their contributions will make for future generations.
Daily safety meetings were held before starting the work day to educate the students on the importance of safety in the work place including wearing the appropriate personal protective equipment for the job.
“We are delighted to host the Youth Conservation Corps program at Big South Fork for the 2019 summer season,” said superintendent Niki Nicholas. “Participating in the YCC is a wonderful opportunity for youth to learn about and gain appreciation for our national parks while learning valuable skills. We are very proud of these students and wish them great success in the future.”
Youth Conservation Corps is a summer employment program for young men and women, ages 15 through 18, to work on projects to protect public lands. The YCC program trains young people and provides outdoor work that is supervised by trained crew leaders. Participants gain valuable professional experience working on National Park Service lands; they learn how to use tools, safe work habits, teamwork, and how conservation projects benefit the environment and protect cultural and historical resources.