In the News

In the News


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

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