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ACE AZ – Grand Canyon National Park – South Kaibab Trail

ACE Arizona had a crew working in Grand Canyon National Park this past February. This was a two part project for our corps members. For the first part of the week the crew worked on clearing a rock slide on the Bright Angel Trail Project.


Upon completion of the rock slide clean up efforts, the crew then hiked down to Phantom Ranch via the South Kaibab Trail where they stayed for the remainder of the project to do cyclical maintenance on the trail. The crew had the special opportunity to camp along the Colorado River with the NPS crew.


The South Kaibab Trail is one of the main access routes to Phantom Ranch at the bottom of the canyon and frequently used by the parks mule teams. The crew worked on the lower half mile section of trail leading up to the Black Bridge.


The crew was lead by David Vayhinger, who has worked on approximately eight different Grand Canyon projects in the past. David taught the crew how to clear water bars on the trail. Water bars are pertinent to the longevity of the trail because they direct water down the trail to the drainage points. Water bars and drains prevent the trail from becoming eroded which is crucial in the canyon because it is constantly being shaped by these natural forces.


At the end of the week the crew worked on clearing the River Trail which runs along the Colorado River and hiked up to the rim on the second to last day to  assist with general grounds maintenance along the rim of the canyon.


For some of the crew members it was their first time seeing and working in the Grand Canyon. Many thanks to our friends at the National Parks Service for allowing us to serve in this natural wonder of the world.


ACE Arizona – Grand Canyon National Park – Bright Angel Trail

32095829134_9a1e4b74c5_h-1This past February ACE Arizona had a crew working in the Grand Canyon with the National Parks Service. The crew was led by ACE crew leader David Vayhinger. The crew spent the first two days of the project working a mile and a half down the Bright Angel Trail.32785443482_5d691e1028_h-1


The Bright Angel Trail is one of the most popular trails in the canyon with multiple checkpoints and camping sites along the way as it winds it way down to the Colorado River. The Bright Angel Trail is one of the main access trails to Phantom Ranch at the bottom of the canyon.


The warming temperatures and ice melt cause rock slides to be more frequent during this time of year. The crew was assisting the Park Service rangers in removing one rock slide in particular that made the trail impassable to the park’s mules. Half of the crew assisted with the rock slide while the other half of the crew made their way down to three mile point, clearing the trail from smaller rock slides and repairing check dams.


The main rock slide at the mile and a half checkpoint was one large rock that covered the width of the trail. The crew assisted by directing hiking traffic and helped break apart this large rock with steel rods and drills. The rock needed to be taken apart in sections and then the crew used the rock fragments to build a rock wall along the trail. This work is particularly challenging in the canyon because the trail contains many switch backs. This means that the crew needed to use extreme caution to not lose any rocks into the canyon because the trail continuously loops back underneath the work site.


With the assistance of ACE, the National Parks Service crew was able to clear the trail and the parks’ mules were able to continue canyon tours as well as packing in supplies to Phantom Ranch. It is an honor for ACE corps members and staff to be able to contribute to the conservation of this incredible national park.


AmeriCorps Week Volunteer Service Project – St. George, Utah


In honor of AmeriCorps Week ACE Utah partnered with the St. George BLM for a Volunteer Service Project at the Red Cliffs Recreation Area.


The ACE corps members worked with the St George Field Office wildlife biologist to remove invasive Russian thistle plants and did a little spring cleaning around a historic cabin located in the Red Cliffs Recreation Area.


This recreation area is part of the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve, a special cooperatively managed area north of St. George, UT that was set aside to preserve and protect habitat for the endangered Desert Tortoise.


The crew also worked to rehabilitate disturbance along the entrance road from a recent pipeline installation.  The crew worked to naturalize the disturbed area to improve the aesthetic appearance along the entrance road as well as allow a more suitable site for native vegetation to re-establish.

You Got Served #AmeriCorpsWorks

This week is #AmeriCorpsWeek !!!!



1 MILLION Individuals who have served as AmeriCorps members since 1994.
1.4 BILLION Hours served by AmeriCorps members.
$3.3 BILLION Segal AmeriCorps Education Awards earned by AmeriCorps members.
$1 BILLION Resources from private, philanthropic, and other sources leveraged by AmeriCorps programs each year.
80,000 AmeriCorps members this year.
2.3 MILLION Community volunteers managed or mobilized by AmeriCorps members each year.
21,600 Unique sites that AmeriCorps members served last year

ACE has proudly been involved with the AmeriCorps program since 2009.

Support AmeriCorps!


EPIC is recruiting! Join the BLM DHA Internship Program.

ACE’s Emerging Professionals Internship Corps is currently recruiting for our BLM Direct Hire Authority Internships.

Check out the list here to find your amazing internship opportunity:

Administrative Support (Milwaukee, WI):
Information Management (Lakewood, CO):
Maintenance Mechanic (Bakersfield, CA):
Realty (El Centro, CA, Roswell, NM, Worland, WY, Carlsbad, NM, Milwaukee, WI, Rock Springs, WY):


Riparian Health and Restoration in Moab, Utah


ACE Utah is finishing a month long project in beautiful Moab, Utah. The goal of the project was to remove Russian Olive from Mill Creek. Mill Creek is located just minutes outside of downtown Moab and has seen ongoing restoration efforts.  Mill Creek is a popular hiking and swimming destination with several spots to see pictographs and petroglyphs.


Russian Olive is a small deciduous tree that can grow fifteen to thirty feet in height. Growing roughly six feet per year Russian Olive can quickly crowd out desirable native riparian vegetation. Russian Olive’s ability to colonize stream banks can alter the natural flooding process and reduce availability of nutrients and moisture for native plant species which can result in the reduction of flora and fauna species diversity.

The ACE Utah crew was lead by Krish Karau in partnership with the Bureau of Land Management. The crew was removing Russian Olive with chainsaws and then treating the stumps with herbicide to prevent regrowth. The slash from the Russian Olive was being set in various ways from being hauled out and chipped to being used as blockades for social trails as directed by Taylor Hohensee.


The crew worked closely with EPIC intern and former Utah corps member, Taylor Hohensee throughout the duration of this project. Taylor’s focus in the EPIC internship with the BLM has been in riparian health and restoration.dsc_0925

Restoration efforts in Mill creek so far have significantly improved stream channelization and has seen the return of beavers to the area.


ACE and Flagstaff Family Farms partnered for another successful volunteer service project

dsc_3718On Friday February 17th, 2017 a group of ACE Arizona corps members participated in a volunteer service project with Flagstaff Family Farms.
dsc_3759-1 The group was helping with seeding new plants, sifting soil for mulch, andmarking swale lines. The swale was marked on contour for water retention. In the future the marked lines for the swale will be built up with organic matter. As water moves downhill the swale slows the water down and then sinks the water. Trees and other vegetation will then be able to draw from this water and nutrient source.dsc_3655The owners, Tyler Allenbaugh and his wife  bought the farm just over a year ago and started working with ACE in May of 2016. The farm attributes much of its success to the help of ACE volunteers. Every few weeks ACE sends corps members to help with farm related projects, the volunteers have aided in every part of the growing process.dsc_3676-1

Mr. Allenbaugh stated that last year their goal was to be able to feed five families a week and the farm ended up producing enough to support twenty families a week through restaurants, farmers markets and CSA food shares. dsc_3589a

The farm aims to enhance Flagstaff’s local food economy by providing locally grown produce to farmers markets and restaurants.

Petrified Forest National Park – Arizona

dsc_9488Come rain or shine….

ACE Arizona had a crew on a three day project in the Petrified Forest National Park. The crew was planning on working on the ground maintenance around the housing units in the park and were able to complete a weeding project for the park.


Inclement weather sometimes detours our plans. Outdoor projects are sometimes postponed due to the weather in the area where crews are working. For this project the access road the crews were to use was flooded and inaccessible.


When weather changes our project plans our crews make the best use of their time by building relationships with the National Park Service employees. The park rangers were kind enough to take the crew on an educational hike through the park. They went into detail about how the Petrified Forest came to be and showed the crew members some of the easily overlooked details.

Petrified wood is a fossil that forms when the wood is covered in sediment. When the wood is buried under the sediment the wood is protected from decay. Over time the plant material in the wood is replaced by silica, calcite and pyrite.


Thank you to our friends at NPS – Petrified Forest for hosting us and giving our corps members a wonderful service learning opportunity.


Lime Kiln Trail – Sedona, Arizona


During the week of January 11th, 2017, an ACE Arizona crew began trail maintenance on the Lime Kiln Trail in Dead Horse Ranch State Park. This 15 mile trail connects Dead Horse Ranch State Park in Cottonwood to Red Rock State Park in Sedona. This historic trail was once used by horse drawn wagons to transport local produce, wine and bricks between communities in the Verde Valley.

 Jimmy Gregson, ACE Conservation Trainer and Coordinator, teaches new crew members about building sustainable trails.

Jimmy Gregson, ACE Conservation Trainer and Coordinator, teaches new crew members about building sustainable trails.

Today the trail is use by mountain bikers, equestrians and hikers looking to get out and enjoy the valley’s landscapes and travel along parts of the historic wagon road. In celebration of the US Forest Service’s 100th birthday in 2005 the trail was listed as a Centennial Trail. The ACE crew worked closely with the US Forest Service on this project.


ACE crew worked closely with the US Forest Service Crew.

This project was a first for most of our corps members who just began with ACE at the start of the year. This team was led by Senior Crew Leader John Donovan. The crew was taken on a threatened species walk with the US Forest Service’s Wildlife Biologist and were shown Hohokam agave, Tonto Basin agave, heath leaf wild buckwheat, hualapai milkwort, ripely buckwheat, Arizona cliffrose and Verde Valley sage so that they could avoid damaging these plants during trail work.

ACE crew being taught by US Forest Service's Wildlife Biologist about the threatened plants along the Lime Kiln Trail.

ACE crew being taught by US Forest Service’s Wildlife Biologist about the threatened plants along the Lime Kiln Trail.

This is the third project in the Redrocks region and ACE plans to continue sending crews to the area until March. The crews will be maintaining the trail while preserving the threatened plant species and the historic rock walls throughout the trail.

ACE Phoenix Field School Program

fs-trails-trainingThe new ACE Phoenix Field School Crew started their 16-week education and field certification program last week.

During last week’s orientation, the Phoenix-based ACE crew geared up for an exciting field season learning about the different ecosystems of Arizona, pertinent conservation issues in the Southwest, and field leadership and team-building activities, as well as participating in ACE Restoration and Trails Theory training’s.

fs-restoration-trianing-gps-2Follow ACE’s page to learn all about the different projects that our ACE Field School crew will work on during the next 16 weeks!

The ACE Field School program is in partnership with the BLM Phoenix District Office, Arizona Call-a-Teen Youth Resources (ACYR), and Phoenix College.

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