Repairing Rim Fire Damaged Trails A Gift To The Forest
Groveland, CA — A group of volunteers from across the country have given a generous gift this holiday season to the Stanislaus National Forest.
The crew of 11 AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) from the Pacific Region range in ages from 18-26. The team is being sponsored by the local non-profit the Tuolumne River Trust (TRT) that is providing them with the tools and training, and they are being housed by Camp Tuolumne Trails.
“We’re just a group of dedicated individuals hoping to serve our country and help make an impact in the community,” stated volunteer Sierra Frost.
The burned iconic hiking trails such as the Tuolumne River Canyon Trail, the Hamby Trail and many other trails connected to the watershed of the Tuolumne River, have become overgrown with regenerating brush and repeatedly blocked by down trees. Additionally, trail surfaces have eroded and narrowed from years of backlogged maintenance. The team has been working to improve trail conditions and clear vegetation on as many miles as they can during their time here and in turn helping to boost the Groveland area’s economy.
“Groveland was especially hit hard through a variety of issues over the years like the 2013 Rim Fire, the federal government shut down and the COVID pandemic,” noted Julia Stephens with the Tuolumne River Trust. “It is a tourist-centered town and having recreation opportunities that people can take advantage of is an important thing to keep drawing people there.”
Team Leader Megan Minnig from Redding, Pennsylvania calls the hard work a privilege, sharing, “Being on the trails and improving the Tuolumne Watershed doing trail maintenance has helped our team learn more about watershed health and how much goes into trail building. It’s also helped us to grow a lot as individuals and a team.”
During their time working in the Stanislaus National Forest, the team has rebuilt and repaired tread on 4.5 miles of trail and cleared and cut out brush and trees from over 24 miles of trail and helped lead over 140 volunteers in planting hundreds of tree seedlings in reforestation areas.
“This is about the 8th crew in past five years helping the forest complete this work. It is a really strong partner for public land agencies that are stretched thin and past capacity themselves. Having this federally funded program that is able to assist with these projects is a real strong asset for our county and the public lands around here,” stressed Stephens.
The crew wrapped up their work this week, just in time to celebrate Christmas. After that, they will then move on to another project in Orange County as they participate in this 10-month program. Any young adult that is interested in volunteering to become a crew member can click here for more information.