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ACE Arizona – Rockhound State Park – New Mexico – Trail Work

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During the week of March 27th, ACE Arizona crew members served at Rockhound State park in New Mexico. The crews were lead by Katherine Dickey. Rockhound is located in the Little Florida Mountains and known for its abundance of minerals that visitors are allowed to collect. This is the second project ACE has participated in at the state park.

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The ACE crews worked on two separate trails in the park. One crew reconstructed part of the Spring Canyon trail which has been closed since 2002. The reconstruction included creating a reroute on the trail because the original route was too steep for hikers. This involved building check steps, a rock staircase, tread widening and brushing. There were also many social trails that the crew worked to block off to concentrate foot traffic to the main trail.

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The second crew worked on the Lovers Leap trail with three main objectives. The crew built a retaining wall, a staircase, and widened the tread of the trail. After the main objectives were completed, the crew provided general maintenance which included brushing and back sloping the tread.

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The previous ACE crew that went out to the park and worked on the Lovers Leap trail trail created switchbacks. The ACE’s New Mexico state park partners were excited to have the crew back to put finishing touches on the trail; the crew was grateful to have the opportunity to spend time in such a beautiful park.

Oak Creek Canyon – Sedona, AZ – A.B. Young Trail – Trail Maintenance

A blue ribbon is tied to the fence on the corner of West Clay Avenue, Flagstaff March 22nd, 2017.

A blue ribbon is tied to the fence on the corner of West Clay Avenue, Flagstaff March 22nd, 2017.

Late March our ACE Arizona crews continued trail maintenance in Sedona, AZ in Oak Creek Canyon. The crew was working with the Red Rocks Ranger District branch of the US Forest Service. The crew that was lead by senior crew leader John Donovan was working on the A.B Young Trail. The trail was reconstructed in the 1930’s by the Civilian Conservation Corps under the supervision of A.B. Young. “The trail was once a cattle trail that was used to transport produce up to the main wagon roads”, explained John Donovan.

ACE crew member is using a McCloed to widen an existing trail.

The goal of this project was general trail maintenance. The crew was primarily brushing the trail. They also spent time building a small retaining wall and they cleared debris to provide proper trail drainage. 

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ACE has been working with the Red Rocks Ranger District since the beginning of the year and our corps members are very fortunate to be apart of the conservation efforts of the area. This is the first of two projects that will be working on the AB Young trail.

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ACE in Huffington Post – Engaging Women in Conservation by The Corps Network

Last month was Women in History month. In recognition of this month-long celebration, our amazing partners at The Corps Network did an informative piece for Huffington Post Blog. They reached out to women within the conservation world who literally blaze trails: the women of Conservation Corps.

We are thrilled that some of the women on our ACE staff as well as some of our female crew leaders and crews were quoted and shown throughout this article.

Thank you to our staff that contributed to this wonderful article: Director of California, Sarah Miggins, National Restoration Program Manager Afton McKusick, Crew Leaders, Jenny Diamond and Krish Karau, photo of corps member, Kyia Foster, Photojournalist, Jessica Plance, Director of Communications, Susie Jardine, President/CEO, Christopher Baker.

Click here for article: Engaging Woman in Conservation

 

 

 

Arizona Trail – Four Peaks – Trail Restoration

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This past February, ACE Arizona had a crew working in the Four Peaks region located 40 miles northeast of Phoenix, on a section of the Arizona Trail. This is a part of an ongoing project to improve the condition of the Arizona Trail which in turn improves accessibility to the Mazatzal Wilderness. The Mazatzal Wilderness protects 252,500 acres of the Tonto and Coconino National Forests.

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 This project was lead by crew leader David Vayhinger. The work began just north of Mill Ridge trail head. The goal of the project was to create a stock bypass to get three projects worth of water up the trail for  future back-country projects. A section of trail was washed out by rain making the trail impassable to mules and stock animals and very difficult to pass for hikers. The crew had to reroute this area to create a passable section of trail.

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For the crew this meant creating rock steps which fit the requirements for pack animals. “It’s slightly more complicated to build steps for stock animals than for people”, explained crew leader David Vayhinger, “we need to consider everything from how high they are able to step to the width of tread that the mules need to make a turn”.

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Mules will be taking water up the trail for three back-country projects which will continue to work on passage twenty of the Arizona Trail. In addition to the rock steps the crew was doing general maintenance on the trail including brushing and tread widening.

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Currently ACE has two other ongoing projects along different areas of the Arizona Trail which all aim to improve the accessibility of the trail which extends from Mexico to Utah.

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Our ongoing work on the Arizona Trail has been very rewarding to not only our corps members but to our staff who have been dedicated to it’s restoration and preservation over the last several years. There will be approximately ten more projects working on this area of the Arizona Trail.

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#IamACE – EPIC Edition – Paige Lambert

We took a trip down to Saguaro National Park to visit Epic Intern Paige Lambert who has been with ACE since June of last year. Paige let us tag along for a border impact survey where she shared her ACE experience with us. Thanks Paige! 

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Can you tell me a little bit about your background? (Where are you from? What did you study? What got you interested in ACE?)

I am originally from Houston, Texas, and graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 2016 with a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science. My degree required extensive fieldwork experience, which enabled and inspired me to find a job working as a biological science technician after graduation. The dream was to work for the National Park Service, as visiting and exploring different National Parks is one of my favorite hobbies. During my job search, I found that ACE offered internships with NPS for recent graduates like me. I applied for a job with the resource management division at Saguaro National Park, and when they offered me the position, I didn’t need much convincing to accept it.

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How did you find about ACE and can you tell me about your transition from being in college to being an EPIC intern?

I found ACE simply by Googling conservation jobs. Three weeks after I graduated from school, I packed up my car and drove across the southwest to move to my new home in Tucson. I remember being worried about if I would succeed at my new job, and if college had truly prepared me for the “real world”. My supervisors and crew leads ended up being great mentors to help me navigate through this transitional time; they expected me to put forth my best effort, but were patient and understanding while I figured things out. Over time, I built my confidence and I gained independence and initiative.

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What is a typical day like for you?

There truly is no typical day at my job. The only consistent aspect of my time with ACE has been starting every morning with a gorgeous sunrise as I lace up my boots for a day in the field. My days have varied anywhere from scorching hot afternoons mapping invasive grass species, to freezing mornings searching for tracks and spotting deer with binoculars, to meeting with park visitors and volunteers to educate them about resource management.  The variety keeps me on my toes so that I am always challenged to do something new and never grow complacent.

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What has been a highlight for you?

A valuable highlight in this internship has been connecting with like-minded people who share similar goals and values that I hold. The people that I work with have also chosen to make a commitment to preserving and protecting our country’s resources, and working with them every day brings a new sense of hope and appreciation to the cause. A spirit of camaraderie in the field is oftentimes what makes the difference between a positive, constructive field day and a frustrated, aggravated field day.
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What has been the most challenging part of being an EPIC intern?

To be completely honest, this lifestyle is not cozy and not for everyone. It takes mental grit, physical endurance, and a creatively frugal mindset to make it work. In the most challenging moments, it can be hard to remember the importance of the work that you are doing, and the impact that you are making. It is crucial to be able to keep the long-term goal in mind, and reflect on what truly matters at the end of the day.

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If you could give someone going into your position some words of advice what would you say?

Strive for excellence and self-improvement every day, even in small matters. As an ACE intern, you will be exposed to new territory that can seem intimidating, but face it head on with confidence and you will take away a brand new skill set. You have an opportunity to gain mentors who are leaders and trail blazers in their field, so don’t let a chance to learn from them pass you by. Most importantly, always be a team player- encourage your teammates, and only compete against yourself. Everyone knows something that you don’t know, so be open to learning from anyone you meet.

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Where do you see this position taking you in the future?

This position has given me a fresh conviction that I am able to contribute valuable and meaningful work towards a worthy cause. It has reaffirmed my mission to build a career in environmental protection and conservation, and has provided me with a solid foundation to work from. My path in this mission is still undefined: I may continue to pursue resource management, I might go to school for environmental law, or I may enter the non-profit sector. Whatever path I take, I know that my time with ACE has served as my conservation trail-head.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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AmeriCorps Week Volunteer Service Project – St. George, Utah

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

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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.

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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.

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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.
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You Got Served #AmeriCorpsWorks

This week is #AmeriCorpsWeek !!!!

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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): https://usaconservation.applicantpool.com/jobs/129990.html
Information Management (Lakewood, CO): https://usaconservation.applicantpool.com/jobs/129932.html
Maintenance Mechanic (Bakersfield, CA): https://usaconservation.applicantpool.com/jobs/130084.html
Realty (El Centro, CA, Roswell, NM, Worland, WY, Carlsbad, NM, Milwaukee, WI, Rock Springs, WY): https://usaconservation.applicantpool.com/jobs/130079.html
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ACE-interns-celebrate-success-at-the-Bureau-of-Reclamations-miniature-dam-building-station.-Bluff-UT.-Photo-by-BLM-UT.

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