National Forest Foundation Funding
Rocky Mountain Youth Corps (RMYC) is fortunate to have foundations which consistently support environmental projects within northern New Mexico. Annually, these foundations provide RMYC the opportunity to leverage National Forest Foundation funding through the Matching Awards Program. This grant offers an opportunity to blend the needs of the environment with the needs of local youth, offering meaningful employment while restoring the scenic recreational trails within the Santa Fe National Forest.
This last summer, RMYC Conservation Programs restored 16.5 miles of recreational trails with the Santa Fe National Forest, Espanola and Las Vega Ranger Districts. This area has suffered from significant damage due the Jaroso Fire in 2013, resulting in habitat destruction, erosion damage, and trail damage. Over the course of four, 8-day work ‘spikes’ RMYC crews addressed these ecological and recreation issues all the while building respect and learning about the impact of fire on the ecosystem.
Although spending eight days in the back country of the Pecos Wilderness may sound like a dream job for some, this is extremely intense work. Hiking 70+ lbs backpacks 6 miles in to the forest is not easy, add to this 10 hour work days, hail force wind, limited food provisions, and rugged terrain. You can only imagine the challenges these crews faced. The payoff is priceless; the immense sense of accomplishment after building a built-proof rock wall, the pride that you and your crew feel at the end of a long day, and the personal triumph that you feel when you arrive safe and sound at the vehicle and you finally can take the pack off!
This is not easy work and the crews of RMYC deserve a round of applause for their efforts!