Desert Restoration Corps

The Desert Restoration Corps (DRC) is a partnership between the Student Conservation Association (SCA), Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and California Off-Highway Vehicle Commission (CA-OHV) which has produced a decade of monitoring, preserving, and repairing fragile habitat in the Mojave and Colorado Deserts of Southern California.

The first eight months of the DRC are based out of Ridgecrest, CA. Each team will live and work out of remote tent camps for 10-day periods while undertaking projects, allowing members to fully experience the lands being served. While the majority of the season is devoted to mitigating the impacts of Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) recreation in the desert surrounding Ridgecrest, Teams will take on additional projects elsewhere in California as the heat of the desert summer encroaches on the final two months of the DRC season. Projects typically include habitat restoration, fence/barrier construction, public outreach, trail work/assessment, invasive species management, and resource (i.e. water, wildlife) monitoring.

Members of the Desert Restoration Corps receive or have the option to receive the following trainings or certifications:

  • CPR Certification
  • Wilderness First Responder Certification
  • Leave No Trace (LNT) Trainer Course
  • S212 Chainsaw Certification
  • Advanced Off Highway Vehicle training
  • Peer Leadership
  • Restoration Philosophy and Practice
  • Trail Skills

During the 10-month DRC season, members will restore, protect, and monitor thousands of acres of desert wilderness and will complete a number of other conservation projects. The Peer Leadership model will also provide leadership experience for all members.   

Applicants must be between 18-25 years of age and must pass a background check.

The DRC is one of SCA’s most challenging programs. Members should be prepared to live and work as a small community in very remote locations. Environmental conditions can be harsh, and the projects themselves are physically and mentally challenging. However, those able to meet these challenges will receive an incredible experience!

Related Posts & Program Information

This week we journeyed to Granite Mountain in the Prescott National Forest where we had the luxury of having our gear packed in on horses and mules! We had a two mile hike in from the trail head to our camp site. On our first day we surveyed the area that we would be working in, and hiked almost to the very top of Granite Mountain where we were greeted with an amazing view of the forest.

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Hitch 7 started out not with a bang, but instead, an extra night sleeping in our beds (which is equivalent to a cot for an SCA member). After the pre-hitch day ended, we spent that night in town so we could pick our CSA (no relation) farm box. The next morning we finished the last leftover tasks from pre-hitch day, packed up, picked up the CSA order and headed out to our campsite.

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This hitch started out with the Grass Valley, Kiavah and Jawbone crews meeting in one of the local parks in Ridgecrest. From there we caravanned to the location were All-Corps was being held in the Ibex Wilderness Area. We made a few stops along the way to see what kind of cool things there are to find. Once at the Ibex wilderness, each crew set up their camp and sleeping areas.

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For mid-season Allcorps, all five crews camped together outside of the tiny town of Tecopa (population 10, according to the road sign). Jawbone caravanned with Kiavah and Grass Valley for the four hour journey to the campsite. On the way, we stopped for lunch at a desert wetland site where we took some time to stretch our legs and explore the seemingly oxymoronic landscape.

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For All-Corps, every crew banded together east of Death Valley, in the wonderful area of Shoshone. We were right next to Tecopa, home of hot springs and a date farm.

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Parents Corner

Your child is about to embark on a life-changing experience, where they will have the opportunity to meet new friends, explore potential careers, gain leadership skills, and accomplish hands-on conservation work that will have a lasting impact on the planet.