After indoor safety trainings, members of The Family YMCA’s Youth Conservation Corp trained on repairing a trail in Canon de Valle, focusing on a trail completely destroyed by last summer’s Las Conchas Fire and subsequent watershed issues. Courtesy/YMCA
Family YMCA News:
The status report sent to the State of New Mexico for The Family YMCA’s Youth Conservation Corp program details tremendous accomplishments achieved by the local organization, which employs 24 youth during the summer.
Trainer Zach Close and Educator Craig Martin discuss Canyon de Valle trail work progress as members of the Youth Conservation Corp gather at the far end of the trail. Courtesy/YMCA
New Mexico YCC Project Status Report
May leader training and YCC crew start up phase May 29–June 15
1. Project work plan: We have trained our two Crew Leaders and Crew Members. Trainings included: Trail safety and Maintenance, Tool safety, Tool rehandling, Trail layout and Mapping (using a Clinometer), Van Driver Training/Practicum (Crew Leaders), Child Protection Training, CPR/First Aid certification training, YCC projects overview/planning and site tour and YMCA Orientations and staff training. With this training our Crew has the skills necessary to complete our project work plan for the entire summer.
2. Education: As described above, we trained our Crew Leaders/Members. Trainings included: Trail Safety; appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) which includes safety glasses, sturdy hiking boots, hard hats, long protective pants, and durable work gloves. Also, ensuring that every Crew Member has a sufficient amount of water and food to keep them focused on our challenging tasks, and regularly applying sunscreen to avoid sun burns. Trail Building and Maintenance; which includes trail mapping/layout using a Clinometer, creating a cut bank trail with appropriate slope and slant, working in very challenging/rocky terrain and creating a sustainable trail, learning to evaluate and find solutions for a large variety of trail building challenges, working a rock wall retainer on the cut slope, installing energy dissipation devices (EDD’s) such as; water bars, rolling grade dips, one rock dams, and check dams, and selecting a route that can be more easily worked. YCC projects overview/planning and site tour, YMCA Orientations and staff training, Van Driver Training/Practicum (Crew Leaders), Tool safety; which includes the appropriate way to carry/hike with a tool, knowing how to appropriately use the tool for its specific purpose, the appropriate way to sharpen a tool, and to be aware of the surrounding area (specifically other crew members). Tool rehandling, CPR/First Aid training and Child Protection Training (a Y requirement for staff interacting with minors).
3. Open Items: Trail Building Training: Our Crews had the opportunity to gain some hands-on trail building training in Canon de Valle; this training site allowed for team/skill building that our project Work Plan sites do not afford, and trail building training/practicum has been invaluable to prepare the crews for maintenance work on most of our project Work Plan sites. The Valle trail was completely destroyed by the Las Conchas fire and watershed issues. Working in a burned area is a great experience for any trail crew to have due to the fact that it is a great learning experience. This includes understanding how watershed really works, understanding more about flash flood areas, watching the recovery phase on lower level ground fuels (bushes, shrub, grass, and smaller oaks), and learning more about fire ecology and creating defensible space in the wilderness. The crew successfully and energetically met all of the challenges and learning opportunities. Members and Leaders alike were able to apply skills that were learned previously for direct application as well as use their creative skills to solve problems.
Small flags placed in Canyon de Valle mark the area where crew members will route a new trail. Courtesy/YMCA
YCC members take part in a switchback and stabilization effort at Canyon de Valle. Courtesy/YMCA
YCC members and trainers tranform Canyon de Valle with a new trail for hikers to enjoy. Courtesy/YMCA