The Corps Network Partners with The National Trust for Historic Preservation to Train Next Generation of Preservation Professionals

Through “HOPE Crews” (Hands On Preservation Experience Crews), young people in Service and Conservation Corps programs nationwide will work with The Trust for Historic Preservation and other partners, including the National Park Service, to help protect and save America’s historic places.

Montana Conservation Corps Responds to Deadly Avalanche


Photo from NBC Montana


Parts taken from NBC Montana and KPAX News

Click here to watch a newscast about the cleanup

The Montana Conservation Corps, along with neighbors and friends, are continuing digging in the snow and working hard to find an array of meaningful items at the site of last week's deadly Missoula avalanche.

Michel Jo Colville, a woman who was pulled alive from the Feb. 28 snow slide in the Lower Rattlesnake area at the base of Mount Jumbo, died from her injuries several days later.

Now crews are searching for specific items and hoping to find them somewhere in the deep snow that's still at the foothills of Mount Jumbo.

"We found a couple of one of the victim's journals, we found several of those, we found a lot of seashells which they're saving. They asked to keep an eye out for ceramics, colored glass, and seashells. The kids want to make an urn for the victim and so they want some stuff to do that with," Lindsay Wancour said.

“Part of our program is service to our community, and this is a perfect opportunity for us to give a little back to the victims of this pretty devastating tragedy," said regional supervisor of the Montana Conservation Corps Bobby Grillo.

Video: Interview with a Corpsmember from the Glacier Youth Corps Partnership


Ellie Duke of the Glacier Youth Corps Partnership talks about her experience with the program during the summer of 2013. The Glacier Youth Corps Partnership, a new volunteer partnership program supported by the Glacier National Park Conservancy, Montana Conservation Corps, National Park Foundation, and Glacier National Park, provides diverse work and educational opportunities for youth ages 15-24 in Glacier National Park while supporting the completion of important park projects.

Montana Conservation Corps helps build "Vigilante Bike Park"


 

Taken from the Helena Independent Record 
By Al Knauber, PHOTOS by Eliza Wiley, Independent Record

More than a year’s worth of planning became a reality in about five hours of work.

The Montana Conservation Corps, which has helped build trails across the state, wanted to do a project with greater visibility and enlisted the aid of Carroll College students in late September. The group assembled at Helena’s Centennial Park for the 20th anniversary of National Public Lands Day.

With shovels and sweat, they and other volunteers, numbering 112 in all, created Vigilante Bike Park, Helena’s bike park.

T&E The Cat Rental Store provided a “skid-steer,” a small piece of machinery that’s been compared to a mini-bulldozer, that Joe Robbins drove that day. Chris Charlton of Jefferson City brought one too and helped move dirt for the first track at the bike park, said Will Harmon, who has long wanted to see a bike park in Helena and participated in the effort to make it a reality.

Only a small portion of the 3.9 acres set aside for bicycling at Centennial Park was used to build this first track.

By the end of that day, a rider gave the track a test drive. It passed the test.

The track isn’t just for mountain bikes; it is designed for those who relish the chance to jump and flip and twist on smaller BMX bikes.

Amy Teegarden, Helena’s parks and recreation director, said she’s heard the track has been called “sick,” a designation that pleases her.

In the vernacular of those who ride, she explained, this is a compliment.

The first track is what’s called a “pump track” and relies on a rider’s initial momentum and the spacing between rises and dips in the track and berms instead of pedaling to keep a rider speeding along.

Riders push down on their handlebars and pedals as they descend from each rise on the track to accelerate and then rise up from that squat position as the bike crests the next hill. The result of this physical workout converts gravitational force into speed.

But that’s the scientific explanation for what riders say is fun.



 

“It’s like a mini-roller coaster for bikes,” Harmon said.

“It’s like the craziest mountain biking you’ve ever been through, but it’s condensed into a 300 foot loop,” he added.

Get him talking about the course and the excitement is evident in his voice. Harmon is an avid bicyclist himself, as are his two sons, and he has bicycles specially designed for the type of riding he will do. One of them is intended to be taken to the top of ski slopes in the summer and ridden to the bottom. He grins when he explains this. His trio of bicycles, he said, is worth more than his car.

This first pump track is one of three that will be built, say Harmon and Pat Doyle, the Helena Tourism Alliance’s community outreach director. One of the other two pump tracks will be less challenging and intended more for children who are just beginning to develop their bicycling skills. The third pump track will be more advanced and have more of those features that BMX riders want to see.

Having a bike park that is appealing to BMX riders is important.

Centennial Park was built atop a former city landfill. A few feet beneath the surface is a liner that keeps snowmelt and rain from leeching contaminants out of the buried garbage. As plans were made for how to convert the site into a recreational attraction, an area for BMX riders was proposed, Teegarden said.

However, in the five years that she’s been the parks director, that focus has shifted to mountain biking.

Despite that shift, providing for BMX riders has remained important because without a place to practice, these riders have been using the skate park as a place to ride.

The skate park, however, wasn’t built for multiple use, Teegarden said.

The bike park isn’t intended to be just a place to ride, said Doyle, but a place for people “to get more comfortable on mountain bikes before they go out on trails.”

A skills track is planned for the bike park that will also allow riders to traverse a portion of city history. Granite slabs salvaged as old buildings were demolished in the 1970s during the urban renewal movement will be incorporated into this design.

“We’ve incorporated it into various parks including the walking mall,” Teegarden said of the granite slabs.

Bike park features are being designed by the city with suggestions from those who ride mountain bikes, Harmon said. Industry standards for bike park features are being used in the design.

“One of the really unique things about this process is that it’s on city land,” Doyle said.

Other communities, he explained, have struggled to find locations for their bike parks. Doyle predicts communities will see the value of bike parks and embrace them in the coming years even if for now it has yet to blossom as an accepted urban recreation.

“It’s a very proactive thing for the city to do,” he added.

Some 2,000 cubic yards of dirt will be needed to make the entire park a reality, as will about $180,000.

The installation of the first pump track cost about $5,000. This is less than was anticipated because of the volunteer labor, Teegarden said.

The city contributed land for the bike park and some $20,000.

Doyle and Harmon say they see a return on the community investment in a bike park.

Having the first track in place at the bike park gives people more of an idea of what the facility will offer, Doyle said, and will help with fundraising.

He said he sees the bike park as a tourism attraction and said, “This bike park will be the first of its kind in the state.”

“People are always looking for other places to ride,” he continued. “Helena is already an incredible place to ride.”

“Right now, it’s a little bit of an underground tourism niche,” Harmon said of those who seek out bike parks.

But he, too, sees the potential.

“The people who do this stuff aren’t shy about spending money on their sport,” Harmon said. “And they travel.”

Centennial Park has become more than a showcase for urban recreation. The area set aside for dogs to run off-leash was made possible by donations as was the installation of a roughly 11-foot-tall climbing boulder. Making the bike park a reality will rely on the same sorts of community support.

Donations are being accepted by the Helena Recreation Foundation, which has a nonprofit tax status allowing for tax-deductible donations to be made to the bike park, Doyle said.

Harmon looks for the first two phases of construction to be completed in about a year from now. He and Doyle say they appreciate the city’s efforts to make the bike park a reality.

“We can’t thank Craig (Marr, Helena’s parks’ superintendent) and Amy enough. They’ve been tremendous,” Harmon said, adding, “The city is lucky to have them, not just as employees, but as people with vision and insight.”

Montana Conservation Corps helps build "Vigilante Bike Park"


 

Taken from the Helena Independent Record 
By Al Knauber, PHOTOS by Eliza Wiley, Independent Record

More than a year’s worth of planning became a reality in about five hours of work.

The Montana Conservation Corps, which has helped build trails across the state, wanted to do a project with greater visibility and enlisted the aid of Carroll College students in late September. The group assembled at Helena’s Centennial Park for the 20th anniversary of National Public Lands Day.

With shovels and sweat, they and other volunteers, numbering 112 in all, created Vigilante Bike Park, Helena’s bike park.

T&E The Cat Rental Store provided a “skid-steer,” a small piece of machinery that’s been compared to a mini-bulldozer, that Joe Robbins drove that day. Chris Charlton of Jefferson City brought one too and helped move dirt for the first track at the bike park, said Will Harmon, who has long wanted to see a bike park in Helena and participated in the effort to make it a reality.

Only a small portion of the 3.9 acres set aside for bicycling at Centennial Park was used to build this first track.

By the end of that day, a rider gave the track a test drive. It passed the test.

The track isn’t just for mountain bikes; it is designed for those who relish the chance to jump and flip and twist on smaller BMX bikes.

Amy Teegarden, Helena’s parks and recreation director, said she’s heard the track has been called “sick,” a designation that pleases her.

In the vernacular of those who ride, she explained, this is a compliment.

The first track is what’s called a “pump track” and relies on a rider’s initial momentum and the spacing between rises and dips in the track and berms instead of pedaling to keep a rider speeding along.

Riders push down on their handlebars and pedals as they descend from each rise on the track to accelerate and then rise up from that squat position as the bike crests the next hill. The result of this physical workout converts gravitational force into speed.

But that’s the scientific explanation for what riders say is fun.



 

“It’s like a mini-roller coaster for bikes,” Harmon said.

“It’s like the craziest mountain biking you’ve ever been through, but it’s condensed into a 300 foot loop,” he added.

Get him talking about the course and the excitement is evident in his voice. Harmon is an avid bicyclist himself, as are his two sons, and he has bicycles specially designed for the type of riding he will do. One of them is intended to be taken to the top of ski slopes in the summer and ridden to the bottom. He grins when he explains this. His trio of bicycles, he said, is worth more than his car.

This first pump track is one of three that will be built, say Harmon and Pat Doyle, the Helena Tourism Alliance’s community outreach director. One of the other two pump tracks will be less challenging and intended more for children who are just beginning to develop their bicycling skills. The third pump track will be more advanced and have more of those features that BMX riders want to see.

Having a bike park that is appealing to BMX riders is important.

Centennial Park was built atop a former city landfill. A few feet beneath the surface is a liner that keeps snowmelt and rain from leeching contaminants out of the buried garbage. As plans were made for how to convert the site into a recreational attraction, an area for BMX riders was proposed, Teegarden said.

However, in the five years that she’s been the parks director, that focus has shifted to mountain biking.

Despite that shift, providing for BMX riders has remained important because without a place to practice, these riders have been using the skate park as a place to ride.

The skate park, however, wasn’t built for multiple use, Teegarden said.

The bike park isn’t intended to be just a place to ride, said Doyle, but a place for people “to get more comfortable on mountain bikes before they go out on trails.”

A skills track is planned for the bike park that will also allow riders to traverse a portion of city history. Granite slabs salvaged as old buildings were demolished in the 1970s during the urban renewal movement will be incorporated into this design.

“We’ve incorporated it into various parks including the walking mall,” Teegarden said of the granite slabs.

Bike park features are being designed by the city with suggestions from those who ride mountain bikes, Harmon said. Industry standards for bike park features are being used in the design.

“One of the really unique things about this process is that it’s on city land,” Doyle said.

Other communities, he explained, have struggled to find locations for their bike parks. Doyle predicts communities will see the value of bike parks and embrace them in the coming years even if for now it has yet to blossom as an accepted urban recreation.

“It’s a very proactive thing for the city to do,” he added.

Some 2,000 cubic yards of dirt will be needed to make the entire park a reality, as will about $180,000.

The installation of the first pump track cost about $5,000. This is less than was anticipated because of the volunteer labor, Teegarden said.

The city contributed land for the bike park and some $20,000.

Doyle and Harmon say they see a return on the community investment in a bike park.

Having the first track in place at the bike park gives people more of an idea of what the facility will offer, Doyle said, and will help with fundraising.

He said he sees the bike park as a tourism attraction and said, “This bike park will be the first of its kind in the state.”

“People are always looking for other places to ride,” he continued. “Helena is already an incredible place to ride.”

“Right now, it’s a little bit of an underground tourism niche,” Harmon said of those who seek out bike parks.

But he, too, sees the potential.

“The people who do this stuff aren’t shy about spending money on their sport,” Harmon said. “And they travel.”

Centennial Park has become more than a showcase for urban recreation. The area set aside for dogs to run off-leash was made possible by donations as was the installation of a roughly 11-foot-tall climbing boulder. Making the bike park a reality will rely on the same sorts of community support.

Donations are being accepted by the Helena Recreation Foundation, which has a nonprofit tax status allowing for tax-deductible donations to be made to the bike park, Doyle said.

Harmon looks for the first two phases of construction to be completed in about a year from now. He and Doyle say they appreciate the city’s efforts to make the bike park a reality.

“We can’t thank Craig (Marr, Helena’s parks’ superintendent) and Amy enough. They’ve been tremendous,” Harmon said, adding, “The city is lucky to have them, not just as employees, but as people with vision and insight.”

Senator Max Baucus Volunteers with Montana Conservation Corps

Patrick Cote/Daily Inter Lake

On Thursday last week, Senator Max Baucus (D-MT) joined Montana Conservation Corps for some trailbuilding fun in the Flathead National Forest. After being damaged by a fire in 2001, the Corps has been working with the U.S. Forest Service for the past two years to restore and maintain the 15 mile Glacier View Mountain Trail. NBC Montana and ABC Fox Montana both covered the story with videos.

According to ABC Fox, Senator Baucus said "What drives all of us, I think, is beauty, the naturalness of our state, connecting with the land, the water, the air. Not only for ourselves, but for our kids, our grandkids, and that's a powerful force."  

NBC Montana also quoted Montana Conservation Corps Executive Director, Jono McKinney: "Though we do a lot of conservation work our mission is about developing young people. Helping them learn job skills, learn to work together in teams, a lot of leadership and communication development...[On the trail project:] When you've finished the work, what you have created is something that will last. So people really have a sense that the work they're doing really has a purpose, a meaning, and made a difference. And that's very rewarding."

Boiler Plate: 
On Thursday last week, Senator Max Baucus (D-MT) joined Montana Conservation Corps for some trailbuilding fun in the Flathead National Forest. After being damaged by in 2001, the Corps has been working with the U.S. Forest Service for the past two years to restore and maintain the 15 mile trail.

Providing Relief – What Corps Have Done to Assist in Hurricane Sandy Recovery Efforts

 

Washington Conservation Corps members remove damaged household items from a flooded home

Hurricane Sandy took lives, destroyed homes and businesses, and left millions of people without power. As the storm bore down on the Northeast coast during the last days of October, Corps across the country were already mobilizing to help with the relief effort. Corpsmembers have played a significant role in helping communities in New York, New Jersey and 5 other states recover and rebuild.

Some Corps worked through the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) and FEMA, while others organized independent of the federal response. Some Corps worked in shelters, while others cleared debris. Some Corps travelled thousands of miles to assist in the relief efforts, while other Corps worked in their own backyards.

Find out which Corps have been involved in Sandy recovery, read about what they’ve done to help, and see pictures from the field:

Corps Involved in recovery efforts 

Conservation Corps Minnesota and Iowa Corpsmembers “mucking out” a home damaged by flood water

What are some of the things Corps have done?

  • Operated emergency shelters throughout New York City: managed volunteers, monitored and assisted residents, cared for children and pets, maintained the facilities
  • Cleared debris
  • Cut down damaged trees and limbs
  • “Mucking out” - removing water and water damaged items and building materials from homes and businesses affected by flooding
  • Solicited donations of food and emergency supplies from individuals and businesses not hit as hard by the storm
  • Operated distribution centers and packaged emergency supplies for Sandy victims in need of food, water, blankets, clothing, toiletries, and other necessities
  • Canvassed neighborhoods to find people in need and spread information about repair work
  • Restored parks damaged by high winds 

NYRP clearing a downed tree in New York City 


AmeriCorps NCCC/FEMA Corps members assisting with water distribution in Far Rockaway, NY.
 

Get more pictures and more information on the recovery efforts and Corpsmember experiences

Student Conservation Association (SCA) Corpsmember in New Jersey


Southwest Conservation Corps members working with FDNY


Utah Conservation Corps members surrounded by the devastation of Hurricane Sandy 


Green City Force Corpsmembers and staff serving food 


Montana Conservation Corps members organize supplies at a distribution center


New Jersey Youth Corps clearing a downed tree


 


 

 

 

 

 

Montana Conservation Corps Unites CCC Members with Corps for Public Lands Day

From Jono McKinney, President and CEO, Montana Conservation Corps

This past weekend, the CCC Legacy held their annual reunion in Missoula, and this coincided with a large National Public Lands Day project at Fort Missoula, one of the signature America's Great Outdoors project sites.

The “CCC-boys” and their families and guests joined with our members and 140 volunteers to construct CCC-style picnic tables for the Fort Missoula Regional Park.  A CCC alum joined by an MCC member shared in the ribbon cutting at the dedication for the new Fort Missoula Regional Park. In attendance was Steve Doherty, special assistant to Secretary Salazar for the NW Region, the Deputy Regional Forester, staff for Senator Baucus, and other local VIP’s.  Of course, MCC couldn’t miss the opportunity for a group photo with our CCC gang. Also includes a few members from the Anaconda Job Corps.

All and all, a really fun service project by all, with 3 generations of corps on hand – CCC to YCC to MCC.

2008 Project of the Year: Yellowstone River Clean-Up

 

Winner: Montana Conservation Corps

This summer, the Montana Conservation Corps teamed-up with the Yellowstone River Conservation District Council (YRCDC) and dozens of other groups to pull-off the longest recorded river clean-up in Montana history – and perhaps in the nation. From its headwaters in Yellowstone National Park to the Missouri River, the Yellowstone flows 551 miles and is the longest un-damned river in the lower 48 states. Although, the Yellowstone is treasured for its outstanding trout fishing, quieter sections for swimming, and dependable sugar beat and alfalfa crop irrigation, the stewardship of her resources falls short at times. Her shores are littered with trash – even in the most remote stretches of this grand and wild river.

For one week, four MCC MontanaYES program youth crews with 24 teenage participants, ages 14 to 16, and their eight AmeriCorps crew leaders, covered the length of the river to clean-up sixty-four public access points.  Each day, community organizations including scout troops, Lion’s Club members, conservation district staff, and other volunteers joined the teens to help with their efforts, logging a total of 325 volunteer days.  In one week, 18,320 pounds of trash and debris was removed from the banks of the Yellowstone River, including 1500 pounds of steel and 5,056 aluminum cans that were recycled, and 90 tires. Other partners included: nonprofit conservation districts representing communities along the river, the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, and Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, Yellowstone Valley Audubon Society, the Nature Conservancy, local service clubs, private landowners, and the Mountain Sky Guest Ranch Fund.

The Corps Network Participates Public Lands Summit

 



Photo of Glacier National Park 
via Flickr under a Creative Commons license

The Corps Network, along with member organizations Student Conservation Association, Los Angeles Conservation Corps, Conservation Corps North Bay, Montana Conservation Corps, American Youth Works, and Southwest Conservation Corps, participated in a national summit with the Public Lands Service Coalition concerning the implementation of a 21st Century Conservation Corps. 

President Obama and Interior Secretary Salazar have pushed to include more youth in plans for our nation’s public lands, and this summit was a discussion between youth corps from across the country and the land management agencies that oversee the public lands. Agency staff from the White House Council on Environmental Quality, Department of Interior, Bureau of Reclamation, Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, US Army Corps of Engineers, US Forest Service, Department of Agriculture, Department of Labor, and the Corporation for National and Community Service met with corps staff to plan how best to get our nation’s youth into the outdoors. 

For more information on the PLCS or the meeting, please contact
 Mary Ellen Ardouny at The Corps Network. 

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