In the News

In the News


June 2020

Fire, an old road and a rare plant produce an epic journey of renewal

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March 2020

An old-new backcountry trail delivers the quintessential coastal canyon experience at San Jose Creek.

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It’s not easy to pry land from the clutches of the 19th century. But a coalition of park rangers and conservationists did just that at the historic Point Lobos Ranch, located a few miles south of the mouth Carmel Valley. This spring, a patch of majestic coastal canyon, through which runs the San Jose Creek, will be open to the public after being locked away for at least 122 years.

February 2020

Invasive plants overtake Birdiest City’s wildlife park; Corpus Christi tackling problem

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Corpus Christi is known as the “America’s Birdiest City.”

But one of the city’s most popular wildlife refuges on the waterfront, Hans and Pat Suter Wildlife Refuge, is mostly covered in invasive, nonnative plants.

January 2020

V Bar V Heritage Site closed in February for site improvements

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Sedona AZ (January 21, 2020) – A popular tourist and heritage site in Sedona will be closed for approximately a month while some construction takes place to improve visitor convenience and safety.

Crews to begin removing invasive species from Suter Wildlife Refuge

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CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The Suter Wildlife Refuge on Ennis Joslin and Nile Road is about to get a huge makeover that will take several years to complete.

City plans to remove invasive trees to improve natural habitat

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The Corpus Christi Parks & Recreation Department will begin restoring its two nature parks, the Hans & Pat Suter Wildlife Refuge and Blucher Park.

December 2019

She was once told not to use a lawn mower. This summer, she led an all-women’s fire crew.

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When Shelby Descamps was in high school, she set out to mow her family’s lawn. Her stepmother immediately directed her to use the non-motorized push mower. But Shelby wanted to try out the big gas mower. Her brother had been using it since he was 11 years old. Why couldn’t she?

November 2019

Pacific Crest Trail volunteers tackle extensive maintenance in Southern California

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Come fall and winter, trail maintenance heats up in Southern California. Over the last few weeks, volunteers and corps crews have been maintaining significant stretches of the southern 500 miles of trail. Here are just a few highlights:

October 2019

Wilderness trails cleared on national forest

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After clearing hundreds of trees from wilderness trails this summer, the U.S. Forest Service is catching up on wilderness monitoring with help from local volunteers.

Trail crews cleared fallen trees from all the trails in the Savage Run Wilderness and Encampment River Wilderness, including removing more than 800 trees from along the 16-mile Encampment River Trail. They also cleared most trails in the Platte River Wilderness and Huston Park Wilderness.

Outdoors: A long climb to an old cabin on Kendrick Mountain

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People I sometimes hang out with are the type who, when they see a mountain, usually want to run up it. No questions asked, no prodding necessary….

September 2019

City Council approves $2M job order contracts for Preserve work

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The Scottsdale City Council approved modifications to job order contracts with American Conservation Experience and Cuddy Mountain Trail Company to authorize the first of three option years for Preserve trail projects as needed.

Nature Collective’s newest trail on Lake Drive features art, ocean views

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This summer, the Nature Collective celebrated one of its newest land acquisitions and public trails, the Lake Drive Trail in Cardiff-by-the-Sea.

The trail is accessible near the intersection of Sea Village Way and Lake Drive, offering an escape into nature, interpretive artwork by Canyon Crest Academy students and “awe-inspiring” views of the Pacific Ocean, making it a great spot to catch a sunset.

Wilderness solitude monitoring underway in Medicine Bow National Forest

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LARAMIE – The U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service, in conjunction with Wyoming Conservation Corps, American Conservation Experience and Wilderness Outreach, was able to commit resources to improving trails on the Laramie and Brush Creek/Hayden Ranger Districts over the course of the summer, according to a news release.

Nature Collective’s newest trail on Lake Drive features art, ocean views

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This summer, the Nature Collective celebrated one of its newest land acquisitions and public trails, the Lake Drive Trail in Cardiff-by-the-Sea. The trail is accessible near the intersection of Sea Village Way and Lake Drive, offering an escape into nature, interpretive artwork by Canyon Crest Academy students and “awe-inspiring” views of the Pacific Ocean, making it a great spot to catch a sunset.

New Sedona hiking trails open up more red-rock views. Just don’t mess with the rusty cans

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Way back when, my grandfather kept his “church key” can opener tied to the cooler we’d take along on our fishing trips. The simple strip of metal embossed with the Knickerbocker Beer logo got a workout on these outings, puncturing the lids of pre-flip-top beverage cans.

When pull-tabs eliminated the need for the handy little tool, our tackle-box staple rusted away on its cotton cord. Sometimes, we’d use it to scrape grit off our shoes.

It’s been more than 50 years since flat-top metal containers went extinct in the mid-1960s, but in many places in Arizona’s backcountry, piles of these old-style food and beverage cans belie the locations of defunct ranch and mining encampments.

The Crosscut Saw: Still the Best Tool for Some Wild Jobs

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The crosscut saw is a workhorse of backcountry forestry and trail maintenance. But due to its tiny niche in the cutting market, finding a quality crosscut is harder than ever.
For better or worse, the crosscut saw is a legend of American forestry. Following westward expansion, the humble, no-gasoline, human-powered crosscut took down some of North America’s most massive Douglas firs, redwoods, and sequoias.

August 2019

Community invited to ribbon-cutting for trail enhancements at Pine Valley Recreation Area

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ST. GEORGE — Trail enhancements have been made at the Pine Valley Recreation Area thanks to effort of local groups and financial support from the Utah Office of Outdoor Recreation, and a ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held Saturday at 10 a.m. at the recreation area.

July 2019

Funds released for trail construction

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On May 22, U.S. Secretary of the Interior David L. Bernhardt announced the commitment of more than $106.8 million to support 47 public lands projects throughout Nevada, including Lincoln County.

The projects include $1.45 million in Southern Nevada Public Land Management Act (SNPLMA) funding for the construction of between 40 and 65 miles of multi-use trails in Lincoln County.

This funding will provide additional trailheads, parking and ancillary facilities, new dispersed campgrounds/camping areas recreational trails and support facilities in the Highland Range area of the county.

On the hunt for elusive butterflies on Long Island

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A pair of interns had the weight of a butterfly nation on their shoulders this summer.

Searching grasslands from Montauk to Hempstead, American Conservation Experience interns John Buechel and Kelsey Law, both 24, working with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, identified 46 elusive frosted elfins. Just like bees, these butterflies are crucial pollinators, the interns stress.

Flying Pointillist miniatures is one way to describe butterflies, including this increasingly rare thumbnail-sized species, which was spotted last month in Sayville, experts say.

Why is the National Park Service mowing down blueberry bushes at Craggy Gardens?

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CRAGGY GARDENS – On a warm, breezy, half-gray, half-blue-sky July day on the Blue Ridge Parkway, visitors seeking scenery and solitude on a mountain summit were instead greeted by the raucous whir of lawn mowers.

Craggy Flats, a high-elevation mountain summit, known as a grassy bald, is about a half-hour north of Asheville on the parkway and known as a great place for a short, lush hike to a Civilian Conservation Corps shelter built in the 1930s, meadows for picnicking, and in August, awesome wild blueberry picking.

June 2019

Lake Lure hiking trail among best in U.S.

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The national Coalition for Recreational Trails announced its annual achievement award in the category of trail design and construction. The award, presented Tuesday in a ceremony on Capitol Hill, went to Conserving Carolina and to Chris “Shrimper” Khare for their work on Weed Patch Mountain Trail.

U.S. Sen. Richard Burr and the office of Sen. Thom Tillis presented the coalition’s Tom Petri Achievement Award to Conserving Carolina trails coordinator, Peter Barr, who designed the trail, and to Khare, of Terra Incognita Trail Specialists, who led the construction. Marianne Fowler and Derrick Crandle, co-chairs of the Coalition of Recreational Trails, presided over the ceremony. They were joined by Jay Leutze, representing the Blue Ridge Forever coalition.

Planting for the Future in New Jersey

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Migrating ducks and geese in New Jersey weren’t the only things looking to feast on newly enhanced 941 acres of Tuckahoe Wildlife Management Area.

After Ducks Unlimited reconstructed the coastal wetland last year, invasive vegetation threatened to overtake fertile soil and prevent waterfowl-friendly plants from taking root. Non-native phragmites and other species can quickly turn a wetland into an aquatic desert, devoid of diversity.

Kendrick Fire Cabin rehabilitation project recognized by Arizona State Historic Preservation Office

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WILLIAMS, Ariz. — Kaibab National Forest employees, partners and volunteers are being honored by the Arizona State Historic Preservation Office and the Arizona Preservation Foundation for rehabilitation efforts on the historic 1911 Kendrick Mountain Fire Lookout Cabin.

The years-long rehabilitation project is one of the 2019 recipients of the prestigious Governor’s Heritage Preservation Honor Awards, which are given annually to recognize excellence in historic and cultural preservation efforts in Arizona. The honor awards are intended to promote public awareness of historic preservation in the state, publicly recognize contributions by organizations and volunteers, and identify heritage projects that demonstrate excellence in design and execution.

June 2019

Trail Gorillas and ACE rebuild the PCT in SoCal after Valentine’s Day storm

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Valentine’s Day 2019 brought a winter storm the likes of which hadn’t been seen in Southern California in 100 years. Accordingly dubbed a “once-in-a-century” weather event, high winds and rainfall flooded lakes, washed out roads and scoured parts of the Pacific Crest Trail off hillsides.

In addition to the washouts, hikers have noted the large number of blown-down trees in and around the San Jacinto Mountains. On their way north toward Tahquitz Peak, they christened the newly re-opened 14-mile section of the PCT — burned during the 2013 Mountain Fire — by scrambling over dozens of burned trees that had blown over during the storm.

April 2019

Two Sonoma trail systems return to public use, but only one is dog-friendly

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Sonoma hikers no longer have to make the haul to Sugarloaf or Jack London state parks to stretch their legs. This week two long-closed trails reopen for boot prints, Sonoma’s Overlook Trail and the backcountry trails at Bartholomew Park.

Which trail’s return is more welcome probably depends if dogs are involved.

Directly or indirectly, the firestorm of October 2017 was a factor in the closure of both trails, although plans to restore portions of the City of Sonoma’s 3-mile Overlook Trail predate the fires. Cal Fire bulldozer tracks that scarred the Overlook hillside during that conflagration didn’t help any, pushing back that trail’s complete reopening by about a year.

A fresh look at The Overlook

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After an extensive rehabilitation effort, buoyed by volunteer hours and a state grant to help cover the $200,000 costs, Sonoma’s Overlook Trail reopens on April 28.

“Crews from American Conservation Experience, a nonprofit organization that trains young people in trail building and restoration, did most of the heavy lifting, literally ” said Joanna Kemper, chair of the Sonoma Overlook Trail stewards project team. “They worked from late June to early October last year and did a great job.”

March 2019

The American Conservation Experience

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This past week at Lake Guntersville State Park, we had the pleasure of hosting a crew of dedicated young men and women from ACE. These young people were interns in a trail crew from the Southeastern division of American Conservation Experience (ACE) out of Asheville, North Carolina. American Conservation Experience is a 501(c)(3) registered non-profit organization that provides a range of voluntary service programs for both American and international participants. They provide young men and women the opportunity to change their future and restore our lands by sending crews to state and national parks all over the nation. To parks like ours, they provide services and expertise in areas such as trail building and restoration, tree planting, invasive species removal, habitat restorations, erosion control and historical preservation. These participating interns can receive valuable instruction and vocational guidance in pursuit of outdoor related careers. They can choose between 450 or 900 hours of service, receive an educational stipend to go towards college, and get to explore and visit beautiful and scenic places all over our country.

February 2019

Stewards of the Trails Keeping Grand Canyon Accessible

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On the “bucket list” for people all over the world is to hike the Grand Canyon, most notably, the Bright Angel and Kaibab Trails. Of the six million-plus annual Grand Canyon visitors, it is estimated less than 7 percent actually hike down into the canyon (only 1 percent to the bottom). Even so, that adds up to 434,000 hikers a year on the corridor trails.

Maintaining these popular trails for safe passage are many people who work at times in high heat and low temperatures to ensure hikers and mule riders a safe journey.

Deep Dive On A Shallow Reef: National Park Of American Samoa

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Ohio is generally not known for its beaches. So how did Victoria Barker—a native of Cincinnati—find childhood inspiration to work on coral reefs? “There’s one thing you need to know about people who live in Cincinnati,” she recently told me, “they all seem to vacation at Hilton Head.” Annual family visits to the South Carolina coast eventually enticed her to study marine communities from the Gulf of Mexico, to the Caribbean, to Australia’s Great Barrier reef.

In so doing, Barker has personally experienced a troubling global trend. Corals reefs around the world are feeling the heat from rising ocean temperatures. Exposure to extreme warmth—particularly over prolonged periods—compels corals to eject their photosynthetic alga, leaving polyps bereft of color and in danger of starvation. Massive coral bleaching events have become increasingly commonplace and widespread, often garnering media attention as they ravage popular visitor areas. But Barker’s latest assignment provides her some measure of hope for the future.

January 2019

Tahoe Fund gives to Tahoe Rim Trail restoration

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The nonprofit Tahoe Fund has achieved its $40,000 fundraising match goal to allow further restoration of the Tahoe Rim Trail within Desolation Wilderness, meaning $80,000 in total will be contributed. One of the most scenic hiking, horseback riding and backpacking sections of the Tahoe Rim Trail in Desolation Wilderness has been significantly degraded over time, due to increased use combined with extreme weather events, affecting safety, recreational experience and water quality.

“We accomplished a lot in the last year and over the next three years we plan to continue to improve the most heavily damaged portions of the trail in northern Desolation Wilderness,” said Chris Binder, director of trail operations for the Tahoe Rim Trail Association in a press release. “The funds generated by the Tahoe Fund will be of significant help and will support youth and volunteer trail crews performing the trail work.”

When the Dunes Turn Blue

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A team of young and enthusiastic workers wielding chainsaws and herbicide have descended upon the Coastal Bend region to help destroy invasive plant species leaving blue dunes in their wake. The blue is actually temporary dye in herbicide that allows the crew to increase their precision and see what invasive plants they’ve already tackled. The team is a part of the American Conservation Experience (ACE) that provides young adults interested in resource management with experience in habitat restoration.

The ACE team’s service is provided free of charge to the local region through a grant secured by The Nature Conservancy from the RESTORE Act which is funded through penalties from the Deepwater Horizon spill. Port Aransas has benefited with invasive species projects in the Port Aransas Nature Preserve, Nueces County Parks, and at The University of Texas Marine Science Institute.

December 2018

Stewards of the Trails Keeping Grand Canyon Accessible

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On the “bucket list” for people all over the world is to hike the Grand Canyon, most notably, the Bright Angel and Kaibab Trails. Of the six million-plus annual Grand Canyon visitors, it is estimated less than 7 percent actually hike down into the canyon (only 1 percent to the bottom). Even so, that adds up to 434,000 hikers a year on the corridor trails.

Maintaining these popular trails for safe passage are many people who work at times in high heat and low temperatures to ensure hikers and mule riders a safe journey.

The key player is the National Park Service (NPS) which, when fully staffed, employs up to 75 people and maintains about 126 miles of trails (there are approximately 358 established trails). “This includes up to 40 NPS staff and the conservation corps volunteers,” said NPS Trails Program Manager Christopher Brothers. “Right now, we are understaffed, which is a big challenge.”

Puritan Tiger Beetles, ‘Vicious Predators,’ May Soon Hunt Again

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ACE EPIC Interns Sara Wisner and Kate Froburg served at Silvio O. Conte National Wildlife Refuge as laboratory managers at the Puritan Tiger Beetle Laboratory, rearing this endangered species of beetle under tutelage from USFWS entomologists. This beetle species is part of the puzzle for a healthy riparian ecosystem along the Connecticut River. This position involved a unique combination of lab and riparian corridor work. Besides the detailed day-to-day responsibilities of animal husbandry, facility maintenance, data management, equipment management, and ecological field work, Kate and Sara accomplished several other important projects, that are an enduring legacy of their hard work and dedication to the USFWS as EPIC Interns.

According to Kate and Sara’s end of year report: “Accomplishments for this year include designing and constructing new larval tube buckets that increased larval rearing success and reduced spillage of sand…. Kate designed a new system of magnetic male labels to provide an easier method of changing labels on adult bins….We also designed and constructed a sand catchment system to prevent sand from causing clogs in the drainage system at the refuge. We designed and constructed a wooden sand dolly to allow for easy storage of sanitized sand inside the laboratory… Kate created bookshelves out of PVC piping to allow for easier storage of books in the laboratory. To optimize time and find eggs faster, Sara made a duplicate set of equipment so that two people can find eggs at once. Sara drew and designed t-shirt decals for the recovery project, so that volunteers and others involved in the project had a memento of the success of the rearing project. We both successfully reared about 750 larvae that were all reintroduced to various sites across Connecticut and one site in Massachusetts.”

Lastly, Kate and Sara trained many volunteers to assist with larval feedings and basic lab operation procedures. Thank you, Kate and Sara, for your stellar work as ACE EPIC interns! You may read more about the Puritan Tiger Beetle in this NYT article

November 2018

New trail project announced

A two-year effort to rehabilitate Rainbow Falls Trail in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is now complete, and the next Trails Forever project has been announced — Trillium Gap Trail, a 6.6-mile path that intersects with the Rainbow Falls Trail at Mount LeConte.

The rehabilitation of Trillium Gap Trail will take two years, beginning in May 2019, and will be conducted together with other critical work across the park on trails such as the Deep Creek Trail, Rough Fork Trail, Smokemont Trail and Noah Bud Ogle Trail. Trillium Gap Trail and associated parking areas will be closed from May 6, 2019, through Nov. 14 of that year, from 7 a.m. Mondays through 5:30 p.m. Thursdays. It will be open on federal holidays. Work will resume in 2020.

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Park celebrates Rainbow Falls Trail project completion

Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials Wednesday celebrated the completion of a two-year trail rehabilitation project on Rainbow Falls Trail.

The 6-mile Rainbow Falls Trail is one of the most popular trails in the park leading hikers to Rainbow Falls and Mount Le Conte. The trail was reopened, on schedule, following work completed by the park trail crew, American Conservation Experience youth crews and volunteers.

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September 2018

CCNS science projects explore Cape’s ecosystem

EASTHAM – The Cape Cod ecosystem is constantly changing in various ways and the Cape Cod National Seashore’s Science in the Seashore symposium held at Salt Pond Visitor Center last week aimed to explain how and why.

The symposium featured eight presentations from graduate students and various coastal scientists. Topics included; studying river herring, snapping turtles, fishes and macro-invertebrates, roseate terns, methane emissions from seagrass, sea floor communities, climate change and overwash at Ballston Beach.

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Less trash, more help at latest Alpine Coastal Cleanup

There’s good news on the trash front in Alpine!
With more volunteers and sponsors than ever, the Annual Coastal Cleanup by the Back Country Land Trust (BCLT) picked up less trash on Sept. 15 from the Alpine Creek bed area, said Jon Green, program and outreach director for the land trust.

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July 2018

Volunteers to be out Saturday along the Seneca Rocks Trail

PENDLETON COUNTY, W.Va. — Sturdy hiking boots were recommended for those heading to Saturday’s planned Spruce Knob and Seneca Rocks National Recreation Area Volunteer Day and Celebration.

From 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on July 28, maintenance work was on tap for volunteers along the popular Seneca Rocks Trail to mark the 50th anniversary of the National Trails System Act, a national strategy to create and manage trails across the U.S.

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Tahoe Weekly: Trail work complete at Black Wall

The route was originally set by climbers, who have been scaling the wall since the 1970s. Working with the Access Fund Conservation Team West, American Conservation Experience and numerous volunteers, Land Trust staff and volunteers have invested many hours this summer working to make the trail more sustainable, reducing erosion and shoring up defenses against winter weather.

The Black Wall Trail is more rugged than a typical Land Trust trail due to the terrain but is a worthwhile quick trip for adventurous climbers and hikers alike offering great views of Donner Lake and beyond. It’s not unusual to spot or hear the cries of nesting peregrine falcons high up on the cliff. (The Land Trust protects hatchlings each spring with a climbing moratorium on routes around the nests.)
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American Conservation Experience stepping up to the plate for Flagstaff

This fall, loggers with feller bunchers, log processors and lumber trucks won’t be the only people at work thinning acres of forest in the Dry Lake Hills as part of the Flagstaff Watershed Protection Project.

Crews of young adults from the nonprofit American Conservation Experience, or ACE, will also be in those woods using chainsaws to thin upwards of 200 densely treed acres on slopes above town.

These workers have become an important part of completing the forest health and watershed protection project as costs have ballooned beyond initial expectations.

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Pipestone County Start: Five seasonal employees join Monument

A 13-lined ground squirrel, the monarch butterfly and red sumac are just three examples of the animal and plant life that one might see at Pipestone National Monument, and this summer, visitors can learn about all the wildlife and more through free guided tours.

The tours are given by park rangers along the Circle Trail twice daily, some of those by two interpretive park rangers and three interns who have joined the staff at Pipestone National Monument for summer and early fall: John Buechel and Jessica Borden are interpretive park rangers, who will be at the Monument until October; Nicole Reske and Tyler LaMantia are interns through American Conservation Experience for the next 10 weeks; and Kathryn Hill is working on a park management certification and will finish her 10-week internship in August. The summer employees have backgrounds in history, anthropology, archeology and natural resources.

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ACE Press Release: New President and CEO Laura Herrin

American Conservation Experience (ACE) proudly announces the selection of Laura Herrin as its new President and Chief Executive Officer. Laura begins her leadership role at ACE on July 16, 2018, succeeding ACE Founder, Chris Baker who is stepping down after 15 years of exceptional service and organizational growth nationwide.

“Laura Herrin has dedicated her career to youth and young adult development and conservation corps programs and has a great track record of accomplishments,” said Brad Bippus, ACE’s board chair. “Laura has a very obvious passion for ACE’s dual mission of on-the-ground environmental work and providing meaningful opportunities for young people. We are delighted to have Laura, with her very impressive skills and many years of leadership experience, take the helm of ACE.”

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Tahoe Weekly: Incline Flume, Kingsbury trails complete

Seven years in the making and volunteers have built the most technical rock line on a sanctioned trail in Tahoe. In June, TAMBA funded the American Conservation Experience for two weeks to rough-in a 500-foot alternate route down some crazy steep rock slabs on the Kingsbury Stinger Trail that challenge even the most experienced riders.

A 40-person TAMBA volunteer force attacked the trail on June 24, polished the tread and made it rideable.

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WGAL 8: Piece of Gettysburg battlefield getting facelift

A piece of the Gettysburg battlefield is getting a facelift. More than 1,400 feet of stone walls are being rebuilt. American Conservation Experience is proud to take part in the historic conservation efforts.

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June 2018

Sonoma Valley Sun: Rehab project for Sonoma’s Overlook Trail

Sonoma’s Overlook Trail is getting a makeover, and the 14-week project kicks off with a celebration on Wednesday, June 29 at 1 p.m.

The event, at the trailhead on First Street West just outside the gates to the Sonoma Mountain Cemetery, will include an overview and history of the project, groundbreaking ceremony and light refreshments.

The trail will be closed to the public until mid-September.

The project will be undertaken by a crew of 12 young adults and two experienced trail-building supervisors with the American Conservation Experience. Planned improvements include: new stone steps at the badly eroded main trailhead; a 795-foot reroute on the Lower Trail; rebuilding of climbing turns and junctions; and short runs of steps at key locations.

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May 2018

Sonoma News: Sonoma’s popular Overlook Trail to be closed for 12 weeks

The work will be undertaken by a crew of 12 young adults and two experienced trail-building supervisors with American Conservation Experience ( Examples of the improvements include: stone steps at the badly-eroded main trailhead; a 795-foot reroute to avoid a severely degraded segment on the Lower Trail; rebuilding of climbing turns and junctions; and short runs of steps at key locations to alleviate gradient and erosion issues.

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April 2018

WBRC Fox 6 News: National nonprofit groups working to preserve Moss rock

Kate is from Maine, but says Moss Rock is one of the most beautiful places she’s seen, and was thrilled when the city of Hoover reached out to the Access Fund for help preserving it.

“We welcome people to come out to moss rock. It’s rad here. Thanks to the city of hoover for having us. We are psyched.”

At least ten thousand people visit the 350 acre park every year, which is known for it’s hiking trails and boulder field. All that traffic, leads to erosion issues. That’s why the city teamed up with the Access Fund, and the American Conservation Experience, to build retaining walls, natural stone staircases, and trail landscaping to protect the park and improve access.

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Smokey Mountain News: Trail work resumes on Rainbow Falls Trail

The second phase of a two-year trail rehabilitation project in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park will begin Monday, April 16, on the popular Rainbow Falls Trail.
The trail will be closed from 7 a.m. Mondays through 5:30 p.m. Thursdays, April 16 through Nov. 15, federal holidays excluded. The Mount LeConte backcountry shelter will be closed for eight seven-night periods between July 18 and Oct. 24 to accommodate American Conservation Experience trail crewmembers working on the project.

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Monterey Herald: Work on Soberanes Creek Trail nears completion

In addition to the new portable restrooms for the Soberanes Creek Trail, American Conservation Experience and a State Parks trail crew have been working on retaining walls, steps, clearing brush, light trail maintenance and repairing slides. Work began Feb. 14.

The Soberanes Fire started July 22, 2016, in Garrapata State Park from an illegal, unattended campfire and it was contained Oct. 12, 2016. It burned 132,127 acres and destroyed 57 homes and 11 outbuildings.

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Perry County Tribune: Take a hike

Construction on the new loop trail around Tecumseh Lake is expected to begin within the next few weeks through grant funding obtained by the Buckeye Trail Association. The Wayne National Forest is partnering with the American Conservation Experience to provide an AmeriCorps trail crew for eight weeks, starting in June, to reroute sections of the BT/NCT in the Shawnee area. Additionally, the Buckeye Trail Association is partnering with the Hocking-Athens-Perry Community Action Program (HAPCAP) and the Perry County Jobs and Family Services (PCJ&FS) to provide an additional youth crew for eight weeks this summer to complete project work.

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March 2018

KSBW8: Re-opening of beloved Big Sur trail facing more delays

In February American Conservation Experience crews start work to repair the trail with and California State Parks estimated the contractors would have the job done by April.

State Parks reports ACE has been making great progress but the late winter and early spring rains have been slowing things down. The precipitation causes the fresh soil of the newly cut trail to erode.

The State Parks Monterey District Office is hoping to re-open Soberanes Canyon Trail the week of April 2nd but said it could take until mid-April.

The trail is one of the most trafficked in Monterey County. It sits just past the gateway to Big Sur on the eastside of Highway 1 across the road from Garapata State Park.

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February 2018

ACE announces the departure of President and Founder, Chris Baker:

For Immediate Release:

Flagstaff, AZ, March 9, 2018 –

It is with deep appreciation and gratitude for his leadership and service that the Board of Directors announces Chris Baker’s departure as President and CEO of American Conservation Experience (ACE), effective June 30, 2018.

Chris founded ACE in August 2003 and under his guidance it has developed into a nationally recognized leader in the conservation community engaging thousands of young adults in the accomplishment of practical environmental restoration projects in America’s national parks, forests, wildlife refuges and other public lands.

Although Chris will be greatly missed by the board, staff, corps members, and partners alike we wish him great success in his new endeavor as the co-founder of Conservation United Insurance (CUI), where he will continue to support and consult conservation corps and other nonprofit organizations across the nation.

We want to thank him for the 15 years of dedicated service as well as his inspirational leadership and mentorship which involved many significant accomplishments and contributions…

To read the official press release click here:

Blue Ridge Now: trail Work at Carl Sandburg Home NHS

Members of the Great Smoky National Park trail crew are onsite working with youth from the American Conservation Experience trail crew from Asheville, NC to repair and rehabilitate the main pedestrian trail leading from the front lake to the Sandburg Home at Carl Sandburg Home NHS.

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January 2018

The Tribune: 20 acres of Oceano Dunes’ off-roading area closed for new dust control effort

Dust mitigation work began early this month, when two nine-acre sections of riding area on the sand highway between markers 15 and 16 were fenced off permanently to establish native plants that Glick said are more effective than fencing in reducing dust.

The areas were identified as hot spots for dust by the California Air Resources Board.

This week, workers with the California Conservation Corps in San Luis Obispo and the American Conservation Experience distributed layers of weed-free rice straw on the sand to stabilize the ground long enough for native plants to take hold.

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KNAU Arizona Public Radio: City of Flagstaff Seeks Public Input on Climate Action Plan

Woodman says that includes preparing for wildfires, floods, and droughts. She’s also concerned about decreased snowpack and its effect on Flagstaff’s water supply and tourism.

Jeff Bousson of the American Conservation Experience is a member of the steering committee. “What do we want our community to look like ten years, twenty years, thirty years, fifty years from now?” he says. “I want this to be as inclusive as possible, and provide a lot of opportunities for us to live in a community that we’re incredibly proud of.”

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Novemeber 2017

Rancho Santa Fe Review: San Dieguito restoration project helping to reduce fire risk

Kreutz said they owe so much to dedicated volunteers who have contributed nearly 2,000 hours to the project, people like Bob Byrnes and Arne Johanson with the California Native Plant Society, and hard-working crews from American Conservation Experience (ACE), who travel all over the country to complete projects like trail restorations, fuel reduction and invasive removals.

Local homeowners have contributed approximately 600 hours of labor and organizing.

The work is funded by grants from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services ($55,300), the Southern California Wetlands Recovery Project ($23,000) and recently $10,000 from the Patagonia store in Cardiff-by-the-Sea.

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October 2017

Arizona Daily Sun: Make a Difference Day 2017

This year, Make a Difference Day focused on efforts around the Willow Bend Environmental Education Center at Sawmill Park. Maggie Twomey of the City Sustainability Division organized groups and volunteers to restore the Willow Bend habitat gardens, weed and seed the Monarch Waystation, stabilize and seed the slope below the gardens, and remove trash along the Rio de Flag in Sinclair Wash. Participants included City and County staff, Americorps/American Conservation Experience, Natural Channel Design, Friends of Willow Bend Gardens, Willow Bend staff and Board members, Northern Arizona Trail Runners, Friends of the Rio de Flag, and many individual community members.

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Lincoln County Record: Caliente City Council News

Jon Prescott is working with the BLM portion of the bike trail. So far they have four and a half miles of complete trail on the Barnes Canyon and are working on the engineering design of the trailhead. The plan for this season is to have seven miles complete in Barnes Canyon by the time the snow falls in late December. The crews are a volunteer corp, and they camp, so, until it gets too cold, they will be down there building. They will come back in the spring and keep going from there. Eventually, more trails will be built coming down Ella Mountain coming into town. The environmental analyses are being studied now.

The American Conservation Experience (ACE) hired a crew of four locals for the project, one from Alamo, two from Panaca, and one from Caliente. They are working 40 hours a week at $10.20 an hour.

The grand opening for the 22 miles down Barnes Canyon is set for Sept. 19, but trails are open to the public as they finish. As of now, there is a three-mile loop that is finished and is open, plus one-and-a-half miles that dead end. At the end of the season that will be a full loop, plus seven miles of loop open for use.

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September 2017

The Record-Courier: Four projects in Douglas named Best in Basin

The 15 public and private project implementers recognized with Best in Basin awards restored streams and wetlands, cleaned contaminated properties, built bike trails and shared-use paths, improved forest health and community wildfire preparedness, reduced stormwater pollution that harms Lake Tahoe’s famous water clarity, and revitalized communities.

“People are making tremendous progress to restore and conserve Lake Tahoe’s natural environment, improve the vitality of our communities, and make the region more sustainable,” said Joanne S. Marchetta, executive director of TRPA. “The amount of partnership and collaboration demonstrated by this year’s award winners, and the number of privately funded projects, shows Lake Tahoe is working together like never before.”

This year’s Best in Basin award winners are:

Kingsbury Stinger Trail: The U.S. Forest Service and nonprofit Tahoe Area Mountain Biking Association partnered to build this multi-use trail that runs from the Andria Drive trailhead in upper Kingsbury to the Tahoe Rim Trail and ends at Terrace View Street in lower Kingsbury, connecting with a Class 1 bike path there. The project restored a steep and heavily-eroding old trail alignment. More than 100 people contributed to the project with 1,500 hours of volunteer work. Project partners: American Conservation Experience, State of Nevada Recreational Trails Program.

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PCTA Trail Dirt: Four years of hard, hard work to build 3.9 miles of trail

In 2014, the PCTA supervised an American Conservation Experience (ACE) crew and broke ground on the new section of trail. Each year since we managed to build one-half to three quarters mile of new trail. The terrain is rocky, steep, and downright rough to work in. And we build the PCT to a very high standard compared to some other trails. Each new piece of trail tread was hard work.

This year, we made a massive push on the project. With the combined efforts of the PCTA, ACE crews, led by our Technical Advisors Connor Swift and Tyler Lau, a Tahoe National Forest trail crew, and the Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship, we finished the southern section of the trail from Pack Saddle Campground south to the existing PCT alignment.

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Missoulian: Sawyers from Bitterroot Forest to help with Hurricane Irma cleanup

HAMILTON — Three sawyers from the Bitterroot National Forest are taking their crosscut saws to hurricane-ravaged Georgia to help clear trees in wilderness areas there.

On Monday, the three — Amelia Shields (an American Conservation Experience Alumnus), Sierra LaBonte and Katherine Bicking — left the Bitterroot National Forest, where they worked all summer clearing trails. They expect to be available for work on the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest later this week near Blairsville, Georgia, cleaning up after Hurricane Irma.

“It’s part of the Appalachian Trail that’s in a wilderness area,” said Mark Smith, a trails specialist for the Bitterroot National Forest. “There are about 600 trees down on this portion of the Appalachian Trail, and they need some technical experts, people who are available this time of year when resources are low, since a lot of people have gone back to school.

“They’re trying to maintain those traditional skills and work ethic in a wilderness area, and these three are perfect for that.”

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Moab Sun News: Visitors to Mill Creek Canyon impact ecology, public safety

Nearly $50,000 of the WRI project budget will come from in-kind donations from local partners, including local nonprofits Rim to Rim Restoration and Moab Solutions, Grand County, the Utah Conservation Corps, The American Conservation Experience, and local property owners, according to the WRI project report.

“In the Moab Field Office, we have (responsibility for) 1.8 million acres, and if we didn’t have those partners and volunteers, we wouldn’t be able to get everything done that we need to get done,” BLM Moab Field Manager Christina Price said. “They’re extremely crucial and valued members that we look at as our partners.”

Mill Creek Partnership lead organizer Sara Melnicoff said since she began daily visits to the canyon in 2003, she estimates that she and other volunteers in the canyon portion of the corridor have removed tens of thousands of tumbleweeds, and hundreds of pounds of dog poop.

“We’re lucky now we’ve got a lot of interest focused on the canyon,” Melnicoff said. “My plan now that it’s the quiet time is to work my butt off all fall and winter clarifying trails.”

The partnership is exemplary in the state, WRI Project Manager Nicole Nielson said.

“I would say it stands out,” she said. “I think that’s the neatest part of the project – and it’s also a very good project technically. But the neatest part of the project is the number of partners involved.”

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Scottsdale Independent: Scottsdale OKs trail design revamp projects in McDowell Sonoran Preserve

Two-year job order contracts worth $4 million each have been awarded to two contractors for Preserve trails design, construction, renovation and rehabilitation.

Scottsdale City Council approved the resolution on consent at a Sept. 19 meeting at City Hall, 3939 N. Drinkwater Blvd.

Cuddy Mountain Trails Co., and American Conservation Experience were both selected following their responses to a May 22 request for qualifications issuance.

The type of work performed by the contractors includes minor design efforts and construction of new trails, renovation and rehabilitation of existing trails, vegetation removal and maintenance, rerouting of existing alignments, closing “social trails,” repairing and correcting damage on existing trails, providing for design and installation of access controls, and the design and survey of new trails, a city staff report states.

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Rancho Santa Fe Review: San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy receives grant for continuation of work on Fairbanks Ranch Restoration Project

In 2016, an additional effort took place to remove eucalyptus trees, arundo and other invasives from the project area using an American Conservation Experience (ACE) crew over four weeks in January and February of 2017.

Due to the success of the work conducted to date, several new owners signed onto the project and the work has expanded to 200 acres covering additional parcels in Fairbanks Ranch and Rancho Santa Fe.

With this grant, the Conservancy will be able to once again hire a 10-person crew from ACE to remove arundo, tamarisk, pampas grass, and other nonnatives from these new project areas. Work will be conducted over a two-week period in October.

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August 2017

Mountain Xpress: Youth crew rehabilitating Craggy Flats Bald trail on BRP

(Asheville, NC) –  A rehabilitation project for one of the most popular trails along the Blue Ridge Parkway is underway! A crew with the American Conservation Experience is repairing Craggy Flats Bald Trail, which has become deeply rutted, leading to erosion.

The trail work extends from the historic shelter built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1937 across the bald to the stone overlook at Craggy Knob. The crew with the American Conservation Experience will spend four weeks removing encroaching vegetation, eliminating braided trails causing damage to the landscape, and repairing areas that contribute to erosion. It will be a valuable learning experience for these young adults (ages 18-25) who are exploring outdoor careers in the field of conservation. The trail will remain open to hikers during the rehab initiative.

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July 2017

Tahoe in Depth: Young adults help at park

American Conservation Experience supported the construction of a 6-mile path that will create a route along Angora Ridge and North Upper Truckee area. New trail loops being developed will allow trail users to experience incredible vistas from Angora Ridge. Trails that were lost in the devastating Angora Fire 10 years ago will be rebuilt.

The project is a collaboration between the U.S. Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit (LTBMU), American Conservation Experience (ACE), and Tahoe Area Mountain Biking Association (TAMBA). The work will help solidify the Tahoe Basin’s reputation as a world-class single-track destination.

Patrick Parsel, National Trails Coordinator and Trainer for ACE, said the work helps shape his crew members’ understanding of conservation and community service.

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Gettysburg Times: Young adults help at park

Seven young adults from across the country are at Gettysburg to take on project “Restore Battlefield Landscapes at Gettysburg National Military Park” thanks to a cooperative agreement between American Conservation Experience (ACE) and the Department of the Interior.

This summer, ACE crew members are helping eradicate invasive plant species; maintain and stabilize park trails near Big Round Top and Little Round Top; and build and re-establish wooden fences and stone walls.

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June 2017

Arizona Daily Sun: Ask a Ranger

American Conservation Experience partners with Trail Skills Institute and the Arizona National Scenic Trail to train trail stewards, trail crews, and community members on building and maintaining sustainable trails.

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Arizona Trail e-News: Trail Improvements in Oracle State Park

Despite the rising temps, Rob Bauer and the dedicated conservation corps at American Conservation Experience are making significant improvements to the AZT within Oracle State Park. Funded by the State of Arizona’s Arizona Trail Fund and administered by Arizona State Parks, the goal is to build sustainable trail where it is currently located within Cherry Valley Wash and on unpleasantly steep hills nearby.

Master machine operator Rob Bauer (the same guy who fabricates the steel AZT Super Gates) is cutting through the thick brush using a mini excavator, followed by a conservation corps using hand tools. The result is truly amazing. We’ll let you know once this piece of the AZT has been rebuilt and is open for exploration – probably within the next three weeks.

Oracle State Park is an ideal summertime destination, with slightly cooler temps than Phoenix and Tucson. Many miles of trails within the Park offer numerous loop options, and as an International Dark Sky Park you’re not likely to find a better night sky anywhere. They offer a variety of programs and events. Learn more at their website.

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May 2017

The Lawton Constitution: At refuge, team does battle with black locust

An invasive strike team wrapped up four weeks’ worth of work at the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge on Wednesday, according to Wildlife Biologist Scott Johnson.

The six-person crew from American Conservation Experience (ACE), a registered nonprofit organization that provides a range of voluntary service programs for both American and international participants, is based out of Flagstaff, Ariz. They were here for a four-week detail.

“This year we decided to incorporate an ACE crew into our invasive plant program to help work on infestations that we needed a little extra manpower for,” Johnson explained. “Our core project was to remove infestations of black locust from the northwest corner of the refuge around Baker’s Peak, with secondary projects including the treatment of Johnson grass in Scott Canyon by Lake Elmer Thomas and searching for common mullein along Deer Creek in the Special Use Area, when rain or high wind events prevented access to Baker’s Peak.

“Unpredictable weather throughout the month of May was our biggest challenge, but the crew was very hard-working and diligent to make the most out of the time we had and accomplished an impressive amount of work.”

The crew consisted of a crew leader, Dylan Baker from Connecticut, and five crew members: Arthur Cohen from Maryland, Victoria Gaddy from Massachusetts, Matis Batarags from New Jersey, Terry Lavergne from Mississippi and Mia Gilbert from North Carolina.

Click here for article: At refuge, team does battle with black locust

April 2017

Huffington Post: Engaging Women in Conservation

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

March 2017

Press Release: Carl Sandburg Home NHS News Release

Release Date:  March 10, 2017

Contact: Superintendent,, 828-693-417

Little Glassy Mountain Trail Reopens After Extensive Work

Flat Rock, NC – Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site has reopened Little Glassy Trail after extensive rehabilitation.  Little Glassy Trail was considered by park staff to be in the poorest shape of any of the trails in the 5-mile network.  The trail was rerouted to a less severe grade that now follows the contours of the mountain instead of cutting into it.  “In some places the grade reached 18% which had resulted in severe erosion leaving only bedrock and tree roots along the route”, said Steven Kidd, Chief of Resources and Facilities at the park.

A crew from the American Conservation Experience (ACE) worked for six weeks clearing brush, moving rocks, and excavating more than a half mile of tread along the new trail.

Lindsay Donkin, the ACE crew boss was responsible for leading the crew that did most of the work. Donkin, a New Jersey native, has spent the last 18 months working on various ACE projects in the southeast. The ACE crew, which varied in size from 12 to 21 interns, mostly used hand tools such as mattocks, picks and shovels to complete the trail work.  Ken Gragg, a trail worker from Great Smoky Mountains National Park served as the technical expert during this project. Gragg constructed some of the locust structures such as steps, turnpikes, and drainage features with fellow Great Smoky Mountains trail worker Jeff Fraiser. “Without the knowledge of the Smoky’s employees and the hard work of the ACE crew the park would never have accomplished as much as we did this winter”, Sarah Perschall, Chief of Visitor Services at Carl Sandburg said.

Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site is a unit of the National Park Service.  The park is located three miles south of Hendersonville off U.S. 225 on Little River Road, and is open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., daily.  For further information, please telephone 828-693-4178, or visit our website at:

 About the National Park Service. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 411 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Visit us at

For the full press release click here: pr-little-glassy-trail-mtn-trail-reopens


January 2017

Ready to ride: Kingsbury Stinger Trail up and running on South Shore for hikers, bikers

The South Shore has a new trail for hikers, bikers and off-road riders. And its path to completion represents a vision that began nearly a decade ago.

The Kingsbury Stinger Trail celebrated its grand opening Oct. 8. The 5-mile trail above Stateline was created through a partnership between the U.S. Forest Service and local nonprofit Tahoe Area Mountain Biking Association — and is finally ready to ride. ….

Construction of the new trail began in 2015, with a majority of the work coming this past spring and summer. The Forest Service had a full-time crew working on Kingsbury Stinger starting in May, American Conservation Experience provided a part-time crew, and TAMBA hosted multiple trail work days — along with volunteer efforts coordinated by nearby Shoreline of Tahoe.

“We’re all volunteers, and a lot of us don’t even work in the bike industry,” said TAMBA president Ben Fish. “We just want to see cool trails get built and be able to ride them.” Read the full article here.

December 2016

To the bluffs: Two-year Alum Cave Trail project culminates

Smoky Mountain News

It’s a miraculously warm, blue-skied November day, the iconic Alum Cave Trail stretching smoothly from the trailhead. The trail invites, almost audibly, framed by a mosaic of rhododendron, leafless deciduous trees and towering hemlocks that have thus far resisted the onslaught of the hemlock wooly adelgid. Tightly constructed wooden bridges and steps interject the trail’s leaf-and-dirt flooring, a stone drainage here and there waiting, shrouded with ferns, to siphon runoff from the trail when the drought finally ends.

It’s everything a trail should be.

And that’s not by accident. Folks hiking the trail that day, Nov. 17, were the first to do so following two years of intensive trail rehabilitation. Before the work began, Alum Cave was a hodgepodge of leaping rocks, eroded edges, unstable steps and braided trails.

It took 50 positions working about 50,000 hours, funded with $500,000 from the Friends of the Smokies Trails Forever endowment to upgrade the popular route to its present state of idyllic tranquility. The trail had to be closed Monday through Thursday, May through October while the work progressed. READ MORE

Historic ranger cabin gets a makeover

Arizona Daily Sun

A mile-and-a-half southwest as the crow flies from the Jacob Lake Inn sits an old wooden Forest Service cabin. The structure is significant to the agency as it once served as a ranger station on the Kaibab Plateau providing rangers with remote workspace to manage programs for timber, livestock, tourism, wildlife and fire protection.

Approximately a year after its construction in 1910, six such ranger stations existed on the North Kaibab, providing rangers with strategic locations from which to manage their forestry programs. These locations included Ryan, DeMotte Park, Dry Park, Big Springs, Bright Angel and Jacob Lake.

Today, the Jacob Lake Ranger Station is the only one left standing. READ MORE

November 2016

Great Smoky Mountains National Park celebrates reopening of Alum Cave Trail

The Daily Times

As Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials celebrate the completion of extensive renovations to Alum Cave Trail, plans are already underway for the next big Trails Forever rehabilitation project.

The trail was reopened on schedule following work completed by the Park’s Trails Forever crew, American Conservation Experience youth crews and volunteers.

“We can all share in the pride of this incredible accomplishment,” Deputy Superintendent Clay Jordan said Thursday during comments to a crowd of hikers, volunteers and community members. READ MORE

Alum Cave Trail restored; trail character preserved


GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAINS – After nearly two years of restoration work, crews are just a few days away from officially cutting the ribbon on a revitalized Alum Cave Trail.

The popular trail stretches five miles along steep slopes from Newfound Gap Road to the top of Mount LeConte.  Along the way, hikers encounter some iconic scenery in the Great Smoky Mountains, including Arch Rock, Inspiration Point, and Alum Cave Bluff.   Alum Cave is technically a concave cliff, not an actual cave. …

An official ribbon cutting ceremony to reopen Alum Cave Trail is scheduled for Thursday, November 17, 2016.  Volunteers have spent a great deal of time cleaning up the trail and hauling down the hundreds of pounds of tools used during construction.

“The change here has been dramatic,” said Zak Beyersdoerfer with the American Conservation Experience.  “The trail is phenomenal.  It’s kind of brutal, too, if you’re not really an avid hiker.  But it’s well worth it.  All around here, you can just sort of lose yourself in the moment.” READ MORE

Utah conservationists work to save the Desert Tortoise


The Bureau of Land Management is working to create a sanctuary for the endangered Desert Tortoise in southern Utah. Wildlife experts from the BLM are working with the American Conservation Experience to plant nearly 5,000 plants within a 100-acre lot near the Utah-Arizona border.

For the past few decades, the Desert Tortoise has been slowly dying off, due in part to wildfires in Southern Utah. “The tortoise population here in southwestern Utah went down 50 percent,” said BLM biologist John Aellama. READ MORE

October 2016

Little Bear Trail reopens

Arizona Daily Sun

The Coconino National Forest has reopened the Little Bear Trail in the Schultz Fire burn area thanks to many donations and years of volunteer efforts…and the use of American Conservation Experience crews to stabilize the trail.

The trail was closed in 2010 due to public safety concerns after the Schultz Fire swept through the area. Following the fire, numerous hazards along the trail such as falling trees, rolling rocks and unstable trail conditions kept the trail closed. Monsoon storms continued to severely erode and flood the trail.

Little Bear Trail climbs the Dry Lake Hills from Little Elden Trail to meet Sunset Trail in a quiet nook between the Dry Lake Hills and Mount Elden.

The trail passes through the skeletons left behind by the Schultz Fire and patches of surviving ponderosa pine and Gambel oak and offers outstanding views of the San Francisco Peaks, Sunset Crater and the Painted Desert. Many wildlife species make their home in this area including mule deer, elk, porcupine and black bear for which the trail is named.READ MORE

August 2016

Volunteers help with maintenance backlog at National Military Park

Gettysburg Times (Subscription Required)

A team of young adults is spending the summer in Gettysburg getting their hands dirty, all in the name of cleaning up. Organized through the nonprofit American Conservation Experience (ACE) as part of its Conservation Corps summer employment program, the team of seven 18-25 year-olds arrived in town at the beginning of last week and set up camp on the battlefield, where they were immediately put to work cutting brush along fence lines and treating non-native invasive vegetation to support the maintenance and upkeep of some of Gettysburg’s historic landscapes. READ MORE (Subscription Required)

Local growers surge in Flagstaff, but the going isn’t easy

Arizona Daily Sun

A moody gray sky brews over freshly mulched rows, shoulder-height sunflowers and flourishing tomato plants at Flagstaff Family Farm on a recent summer afternoon. Husband and wife Tyler and Patty Allenbaugh are five months into the farming venture, becoming one of just a few farmers in the immediate Flagstaff area trying to make local agriculture a sustainable career. The couple is quick to point out that even getting the farm to where it is now wouldn’t have been possible without donations of things like mulch and compost, county grants, and hundreds of volunteer hours from organizations like the American Conservation Experience. READ MORE

July 2016

No longer city dwellers – Prairie dogs relocated to the Sevilleta

El Defensor Chieftain

Lauren Slater puts a little hay and a few carrots into a burrow on the grasslands of the eastern part of the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge. Slater then reaches into a carrier in search of the burrow’s somewhat reluctant new resident, a Gunnison’s prairie dog. She grabs the small pup around the neck to keep the cute, cuddly looking creature from biting her and gently places it inside the burrow.

“It’s pretty amazing,” said Slater, a recent Virginia Tech graduate who is a wildlife fellow with the American Conservation Experience. “I’m learning how they are in the wild after only seeing them zoos. It’s good learning about their part in the ecosystem and the food chain. They’re really smart. In some ways, it seems like they’re smarter than us.” READ MORE

Highline Redesigned

Arizona Trail News | Summer 2016 | Volume 24, No. 2

Arizona Trail Association (ATA) and Tonto National Forest are proud to announce the completion of a new 1.8-mile segment of the Highline Passage of the Arizona National Scenic Trail. Due to heavy rains, eroding soils and poor design, the trail was completely failing in several locations east of the Pine Trailhead – the most popular AZT access point in Mogollon Rim country. American Conservation Experience carved 1.4 miles of the route with a mini-dozer and worked several crew-days finishing the trail. READ MORE

June 2016

Newly released photos of Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial State Park

AZ Central

American Conservation Experience workers completed a 2.85-mile trail to the site in June 2016. Arizona State Parks officials said more than 189 boulders were moved and 169 stone steps carved along the trail…

April 2016

Fritch adds fun as Lake Meredith adds depth

Amarillo Globe-News

As part of a $142,000 grant from the National Park Service, Lake Meredith will finish the extension of South Turkey Creek Trail to run from Harbor Bay all the way around to Dolomite Point, a total of 12 miles for hiking and biking around the lake.

“We are getting ready to have the American Conservation Experience crews come back in May. They are creating the four and a half miles of trail to connect the two segments,” said Arlene Wimer, chief of resource management at Lake Meredith. “Eventually, the goal is to get everything to connect, so you can leave Fritch Fortress, ride the trail, take South Turkey Creek, go to Alibates, across Mullinaw, then across the new south side and end up in Plum Creek.”

Hope for the Mazatal Mountains

Arizona Trail News

Hope for the Arizona Trail through the Mazatzal Mountains recently arrived in the form of an announcement from the National Forest Foundation (NFF) that the Arizona Trail Association’s grant application had been approved. The $37,631 will help fund professional conservation corps to thoroughly brush the corridor, remove all deadfall, and repair the tread to its former glory. Crews of eight young people from American Conservation Experience will camp in the wilderness and work up to 10 hours per day hacking back vegetation and moving dirt and rocks. Because of a lack of natural water sources, most of the water the crews need for drinking and washing will be hauled in on the backs of equines. Read More

Happy Trails

Times-Journal (Alabama) (Requires Subscription)

The National Park Service said the walkway to Martha’s Falls needs improvement because it is the most visited trail in the park…“It’s been a long time coming to get this area worked on. We wanted to do it right, so we took extra time planning it and got an experienced crew in. There will be no comparison to the old trail when we finish.”

The experts who are improving the trail come from a conservation corps group called ACE, or American Conservation Experience. They are based out of Ashville, North Carolina. Read More (Requires Subscription)

March 2016

Crescent City Cyclists attend IMBA trail building seminar

Del Norte Triplicate…

A group of local riders led by Joe Gillespie plan to use about $8,000 in Resource Advisory Committee (RAC) grant money to design a mountain bike trail in the Mill Creek watershed, with a possible connection to the Rellim Ridge Trail, and existing roads, that run through the Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park. The grant money will be used to hire National Trails Coordinator Mark Loseth of the American Conservation Experience in Flagstaff, Arizona to design a mountain bike trail with features and trail options appealing to every skill level. Loseth has vast experience developing plans and building mountain bike trails across the country, Gillespie said. READ MORE

February 2016

Volunteers break ground on new mountain bike trail in Kanab

Southern Utah News

With direction provided by the International Mountain Bicycling Association’s (IMBA) Trail Care Crew and The American Conservation Experience Crew, volunteers broke ground on the first section of single-track trail above Jacob Hamblin Park. The diverse group included all types of trail users. Their single unifying factor was their love for outdoor recreation in Kanab’s beautiful red rock landscape. READ MORE

January 2016

Pinnacles Peek: First flight for condor intern

Free Lance…

Alongside park rangers, Pinnacles National Park counts on interns and volunteers to operate. One of our youngest resource management interns finished a successful season at the end of December. Born in Gilroy and raised in Paicines, Patrick Frusetta started in the workforce with excitement and positivism. Here are his thoughts as he reflects on his term of service as an American Conservation Experience AmeriCorps member. READ MORE

Do-Gooder of the Week – Brad Hanson

Moab Sun News…

Brad built trails with the American Conservation Experience, before moving on to teach young people in the outdoors with Outward Bound. READ MORE

November 2015

Mountain bikers are ‘lichen’ new Cedar City trails

St George News…

CEDAR CITY – After two years of planning and building, the first five miles of the new Iron Hills Trail System hiking, running and mountain biking trail on the south end of Cedar City is open to the public and ready for use. The Bureau of Land Management Cedar City Field Office, along with the International Mountain Biking Association, Dixie Mountain Bike Trails Association, Southern Utah University’s Intergovernmental Internship Cooperative, American Conservation Experience, Utah State Parks and the Cedar City Trails Committee worked together actively for two years to bring the project to fruition, BLM Outdoor Recreation Planner David Jacobson said. READ MORE

Alum Cave Trail gets a facelift

Knoxville News Sentinel…

On a typical day the Alum Cave trail crew consists of about 35 people — 10 professional crewmen from the National Park Service, and 24 or so trail workers from American Conservation Experience based in Asheville, N.C. Unlike the Chimney Tops Trail, where the focus was on fixing water erosion problems, the main concern on the Alum Cave Trail is making it safer. READ MORE

New Trails Slated For Holbrook’s Hidden Cove Park

Arizona Journal…
construction of sustainable recreation trails, retaining walls, waterbars and switchback details to be designed by American Conservation Experience (ACE) of Flagstaff for installation at Hidden Cove Park. With the contract, ACE received formal approval to begin construction, which is estimated to be completed within 16 working days. READ MORE