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ACE Utah @ Manti LaSal NF

Before, during and after shots of the turnpike

Before, during and after shots of the turnpike

Today, a crew returns from a hitch working in Manti-LaSal National Forest in Utah. The 8-day project initially focused on repairing a turnpike on the Josephite Point Trail, with the crew then moving to work on a reroute and construction of log drainage structures along the Castle Valley Ridge Trail.

The Manti LaSal crew's morning commute

The Manti LaSal crew’s morning commute

The reparation of the turnpike was a team effort. First, the old logs had to be removed and the rebar had to be salvaged. Next, sawyers felled trees that were the correct diameter for use in the construction of the retaining walls, and then cut them to 10 1/2 feet.

Sawyers cut trees of the correct diameter

Sawyers cut trees of the correct diameter

Crew members stripped the bark from the logs, a technique which will help them to withstand rot for a longer duration. Next the logs were hauled to the trail, and pounded into place with the salvaged rebar.

Drilling the harvested logs to insert the rebar

Drilling the harvested logs to insert the rebar

The project was important because the section of the trail that included the turnpike was a meadow that retained water easily during heavy rains, and the trail could be rendered impassable if it wasn’t reinforced. The crew’s efforts will ensure that visitors to the National Forest can have an enjoyable and safe experience.

High five for a job well done!

High five for a job well done!

Catching up with EPIC Interns

Although our conservation corps is centralized in the intermountain region of Utah, Arizona, and North Carolina, and in California, ACE also has an Emerging Professional Internship Corps (EPIC) whose geographic scope spans across the entire country. This past week our photojournalist caught up with the three interpretation interns who work between the National Monuments in the Verde Valley of Arizona: Montezuma Castle, Montezuma Well, and Tuzigoot.

ACE EPIC Interns at Northern Arizona's National Monuments

ACE EPIC Interns at Montezuma Well National Monument

The ACE interns work alongside National Park Service employees each day. They act as the front line representatives of the National Monuments by interacting one-on-one with visitors; answering questions, selling park passes, and roving the trails. During their internship each individual is required to develop a unique personal program to deliver to visitors.

EPIC Intern engages the monument's visitors

EPIC Intern Dana Henze engages the monument’s visitors

“There’s so much history here,” said Dana Henze, who has been an intern at the monuments for 2 months. “And it’s a great learning opportunity. It is a great way to get a foot in the door and learn about the ins and outs of the Park Service. I hope to become a wildlife biologist for the National Park Service someday, and I feel that this internship is helping to prepare me for that career,” she explained.

Dana Henze

EPIC Intern Dana Henze

The EPIC internship program allows youth to explore, connect, and preserve America’s natural and cultural resources as they gain professional skills and cultivate their careers in the resource management field. For further details, including how to apply, visit EPIC’s dedicated program pages.

ACE Crews @ Grand Canyon National Park

Every year, ACE crews have the privilege to work in arguably one of the most beautiful National Parks in the country—the Grand Canyon. ACE’s summer work season always begins with work on the north rim of the canyon, and once complete, crews move to the south rim.

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They perform routine maintenance including cleaning water bars and check steps, re-dirting the trail where necessary, and clearing out irrigation ditches. They focus on the three main historic corridor trails: North and South Kaibab, and Bright Angel.

Grand Canyon Blog Post Before After

These trails are the most popular in the park, and have a very high volume of pedestrian and mule traffic. “Trails at the Grand Canyon are so different,” explained crew leader Evan Thibodeau. “The trails drainages are on the inslope, which is opposite of most trails. The work we are doing is an effort to help prevent erosion from the outside of the trail.”

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The work that ACE crews do in Grand Canyon National Park is imperative to prepare the trails for the onslaught of traffic and monsoon rains that they will sustain this summer.

Grand Canyon Blog Post -01

8 things you didn’t know about…

…AmeriCorps.

Next week, March 9 – 13 2015, is AmeriCorps Week, a time when the commitment of AmeriCorps members and alums, and the extraordinary impact AmeriCorps makes across our nation every day, is highlighted and recongized.

With AmeriCorps Week just a few days away we thought it was time for an education on AC. So here were present ‘8 things you did not know about AmeriCorps’. Thanks to Ben Pohl, our AmeriCorps Program Supervisor in Salt Lake City, for sharing his knowledge and experience of the AmeriCorps program!

  1. You can join AmeriCorps Alums BEFORE you finish up your program and reap the benefits of the group such as networking with 10s of thousands of AmeriCorps members, receive free online tax prep, and utilizes their free online resources. Click here to find out more and join!
  2. AmeriCorps was formed with a bipartisan effort from former Republican President George Bush Senior and former Democratic President Bill Clinton.
  3. There are over 75,000 AmeriCorps members each year and more than 900,000 thousand AmeriCorps members have contributed over 1.2 billion service hours
  4. AmeriCorps serve on projects in the issue areas of environmental stewardship, disaster services, economic opportunity, education, healthy futures, and veterans and military families.
  5. Some schools will match your Eli Segal education award! Click here to see a list of schools that will match your award. Contact the school directly for more details.
  6. If you’ve ever wanted to learn a new specialized skill, your Ed award can help pay for the classes towards your new hobby. Alums have previously used their ed award towards specialized classes, such as photography, EMT training, and even SCUBA certification. With all of these options, make sure to check with your education institution or student loan companies to see if they accept the Ed award as a form of payment.
  7. You can wait to use your education award until 7 years. If it is cutting is close to the 7 years you can apply for an extension!
  8. The Eli Segal Education award can be transferred to your spouse or children. Click here to find out more information.

If you know of additional little-known facts of the AmeriCorps program please feel free to share them in the comments below.