La Jara Collaborative Forest Restoration Project (CFRP)
Funded through a unique grant opportunity with the US Forest Service, this Collaborative Forestry Restoration Project (CFRP) is helping to reduce the risk of catastrophic wild fire in Taos’ La Jara Canyon. Scheduled for completion in the fall of 2011, RMYC crews will have accomplished a variety of outcomes which include: 165 acres of forest treatment, over 50 cords of firewood distributed to elderly and disabled community members, and hours of relevant training to local youth. By project’s end, over 25 Corpsmembers and three crews will have supported this project.
The La Jara CFRP has allowed Rocky Mountain Youth Corps to take its forestry program to a whole new level. Crews receive certifications in CPR and Wilderness First Aid, S-212 Equivalency, and Forest Workers Safety. Crewmembers also learn how a chainsaw works inside and out so they can troubleshoot operation problems and become more efficient sawyers. Their chainsaws become an extension of themselves and the care they take to maintain them ensures everyone’s safety.
Through hands-on education, Corpsmembers develop both personal and professional skills. One Corpsmember recounts the fear he faced when running a chainsaw and the confidence he gained when he finally felled a tree; that boost in confidence continued to develop over the course of his season and will remain with him for the rest of his life. Another Corpsmember who began this project with RMYC in 2009 and is now a Crew Leader, has worked on developing his leadership and teaching skills. With his support the crew has greatly improved their professional sawyer skills and will complete the La Jara Canyon CFRP this winter.
With the help of these and future Corpsmembers, RMYC will continue to grow our forestry program and adapt to meet the changing community need.