Youth Forest Stewards

Summer 2022 Update

FDRD jumps into year two with the Youth Forest Stewards! The Youth Forest Stewards (YFS) are a group of high school students who volunteer their time to do trail work, alongside the Forest Service. This summer our crew has participated in five diverse projects. With one more to go!

Project #1: National Trails Day

YFS joined a large volunteer effort on National Trails Day on Tenderfoot Trail. Tenderfoot trail is a heavily trafficked biking trail in Dillon, leaving the turns in rough shape for riders.

Our YFS crew tackled the task of fixing a berm lower on the trail. The vision was to find downed trees and use those to support the turn to make it durable. The Youth Forest Stewards used timber tongs to carry the tree trunks up the trail, debarked them, and fit them into place, creating a rideable turn. The crew dug a borrow pit and used soil to fill in the turn and make it smooth. Some of our stewards from last year were able to take the lead in safety and tool usage.

Thanks to the YFS crew there is a beautiful berm on Tenderfoot, go check it out!

Project #2: Tree Planting

Just a few days after National Trails Day, YFS teamed up with The Nature Conservancy to plant aspen trees in a burn area on Buffalo Mountain. Catherine Schloegel, The Watershed Forest Manager with The Nature Conservancy came out and educated our group about the importance of aspens in the ecosystem and why we should plant them in burn sites. The team was able to plant 150 aspen saplings in the area, which will hopefully become a beautiful forest in years to come.

Project #3: Buck and Rail at Old Dillon Reservoir

Our next project is the favorite amongst the group. The Youth Forest Stewards built a section of buck and rail at ODR to block a social trail and protect the environment around the parking area. The section they built was 110 feet long and partially on a downslope, so it was not easy! They weaved around large boulders, still managing to keep the fence straight and even worked through the rain, pounding away at rebar. The crew learned how to use power tools and how to make precise adjustments and measurements to create a beautiful outcome.

Project #4: Restoration at Peru Creek

A month after the buck and rail project, the crew was together again to work on a restoration project at Peru Creek, a popular camping area. Restoration efforts are used to ensure forest areas are kept protected. In this case, we were restoring an illegal campsite and illegal campfire rings. The Youth Forest Stewards roughed up the area, making it look uninviting to future campers, planted seed, and put logs across the area to block the grounds. The result looked like the crew had done no work and that was the goal, back to its natural state!

Project #5: Trail Maintenance

Next up the YFSer’s took on the Power Hair Trail, a popular mountain biking area. The trail needed some corridor clearing and fixing on the in-slope turns. The crew are professionals after National Trails Day, so this was not hard for them to figure out. They did a great job fixing the large turn and made it more enjoyable for future riders. The YFS team was joined by two trail crew members from the Forest Service and got to speak to them about career opportunities. Great day up on Fry Gulch! To learn more about YFS click here.

Written by Emily Lind