The stimulus package funded
three different youth crews doing trails.
On our wilderness areas.
Because the Spring Mountains National Recreation Area includes
three different wilderness areas in addition to
a wilderness study area.
So, these are areas that are congressionally designated.
They are unique recreation opportunities.
Places where people can go to get away from all
the technology and all of the glitz and glam that they think of
when they’re in Las Vegas.
I think this is a good Recovery Act project because not only
is it working to restore and protect
important wilderness areas which are
important for all people
Just to get outside and enjoy the outdoors,
but we have this gem outside of Las Vegas.
People think just of the strip. And we have all of these beautiful resources
that are now being protected because there are people funded
through the Recovery Act working in these places.
The YCC has been around for a long time.
The Youth Conservation Corps, I know it stemmed
from the Civilian Conservation Corps.
Back in the day of the depression era.
When they needed to stimulate the economy.
So, kind of the same principles,
but it was thought that the younger generations
could be taught more to appreciate the environment
and appreciate these natural settings.
So, I think it really does a good job.
I know some of my crew members,
they’ll see their friends, you know,
toss trash on the ground and they’ll yell at them you know,
“Hey pick that up,” because we’ve had to haul
30, 40 bags of garbage out of picnic areas.
So they really see what one little piece of paper does,
added up over time.
Yeah, actually when I first, like before I had a job,
I kind of littered sometimes like bottles or whatever.
But now since I have a job, I pick up trash and
don’t like littering at all actually.
Like when I’m hanging out with my friends and stuff,
they like sometimes litter and I’m like
“Dude, don’t litter, just pick it up,” yeah.
A growing trend, that we are seeing more today in America is that
kids aren’t really getting outside and experiencing nature
and really having these connections to the outdoors.
And this partnership with the Forest Service and
the Youth Conservation Corps is an opportunity to get kids outside.
Particularly in Las Vegas where some of those schools don’t have
even physical education programs,
they don’t have sports programs,
and so they are really lacking that opportunity to
be outside and have that experience.
And so this was really a great opportunity
for kids to get outside, to experience you know,
the wilderness areas and the rest of the
trails and recreation areas that we have in the Spring Mountains.
I really like this work because it’s in the mountains and
it’s physical and I’m not on the couch all day.
It’s fun, a good work out and
It’s like being outside and outdoors.
I’d rather like to be outside than sitting in an office or
just flipping burgers or whatever.
Yeah, I like it, very much.
I love this kind of work, I’d much rather be up here doing stuff, you know,
moving around, outdoors than sitting in a place with,
you know, not doing much.
So, I mean, I think this is a great job. I love this.
So, in addition to having these kids do trail work,
we also try to incorporate education components.
So, we have biologists come out and botanists come out
and firefighters too. To explain to the youth all the different components
there are to protecting the forests and managing the forests.
And it gives them some insight into different career opportunities
in working for the Forest Service.
Well, I think it’s good because you’re getting
younger people involved. So, you’re
kind of like preparing for the future.
I mean, I know I definitely am considering a career in forestry
after this. I always sort of have, but this right here really
really just sort of, you know, gave me like
a good idea of the type of stuff that they do up here.
And I just got to learn like a lot of things
that a lot of different people do.
So, it’s just like a lot of learning which I think is good.
And then, I think it’s good because we’re
cleaning up the mountain where
you know, I don’t think a lot of people
really like respect it like how they probably should.
So, we go through and just clean up,
make sure that everybody that comes gets a fair chance to enjoy it.
I think this is a good project because
this helps the people who use the trails
and also us, who work on it.
Because I know a bunch of us
have really taken this, fun and learned a lot from it.
I’ve been wanting to be a marine biologist since the second grade.
So, I thought like maybe being outside and outdoors and stuff
it might look better in trying to do
you know, help out with the land.
And then I talked to the wildlife biologist and
I got pretty interested in maybe doing that instead of marine, yeah.
Yeah, I learned like new skills that I never thought I’d learn.
I leaned that there’s a lot of
people involved in forests, to protect it.
And that it’s a really good place to be.
They just get to learn those skills that are going to be very helpful.
A lot of them will be able to put it on their resume,
we’re talking about that recently,
how to build a resume, how to do all that stuff.
Some of them have never heard of a resume before.
So, I felt like that was kind of a neat thing I got to share with them.
And ultimately, I think that this experience,
they will be able to take it and really,
it will be a positive influence in their lives,
I feel like overall.
Las Vegas was really hit hard by the recession.
Here, we have over 14 percent unemployment.
And when people think about that, it’s not just
people in their mid-careers that are affected, but also people
just starting out their careers.
So, a lot of youth have found it really difficult to
find jobs in this economy.
And so, working with the Forest Service,
we have a partnership with the Youth Conservation Corps
to hire youth from Las Vegas. To have jobs out here
in our National Recreation Area.
Spring Mountains is typically considered Las Vegas’ backyard.
We have people coming up here all summer long
to get out of those triple digit temperatures.
And, we’ve got over 50 miles of trails throughout
this 316,000 acre area.
And so, we’ve got Youth Conservation Corps and other youth trail crews
coming out and helping us maintain those trails.
And these youth crews are helping to improve the quality
of the recreation experience.
One of the big things is really just learning how to keep a job.
And I’ve had jobs before but
this one was my first full-time job.
So, it was just going to work every day, giving it all my effort.
Responsibilities. Keeping my money, buying my own stuff, yeah.
Paying my cell phone bills and that stuff. Kind of being adult like.
It was a job for 15 through 18.
Because not many 15 year olds can get a job.
And then, we are helping out. Like we’re making the trails better.
So, it’s not like people are just walking wherever and destroying
plants and, like trees.
And then we’re picking up their litter and stuff which,
you know, helps make it look cleaner.
But I never knew how to make the trail, maintain it.
Like I would just see a trail and be like, I’ll just walk on it.
But now I can see how it improves,
how, what’s wrong with it and fix it.
This is my first job that I’ve had.
And I’ve learned a lot. Because I’ve never really been hiking before or up here.
So, this is my first summer
up here in Mt. Charleston and hiking and everything.
The YCC is a great program.
I’m just glad that we get to share it with these wonderful youth.
The YCC project was just a really great project because
it gives the youth an opportunity
to be stewards of the land. You know, it’s not just
coming out here for recreation, but it’s
an opportunity for them to take care of the place and have a
deeper relationship with the land.
And it’s an opportunity also for them to be part of this
legacy of providing recreation for
not just the Las Vegas area but for the American public in general.