The Student Conservation Association had several crew members improving public lands across Alaska this past season. From sites like Kenai Fjords National Park to Tongass National Forest, SCA teams worked hard to complete much-needed trail projects involving maintenance and expansion of existing trails that experience high visitor traffic. Crews also contributed to fuels reduction efforts at different Alaska green spaces.
Katmai and Kenai Fjords National Trail Crew, Kenai Fjords National Park and Katmai National Park & Preserve
This team worked to fill in gaps in the maintenance departments of two national park sites and complete trail projects.
At the Marmot Meadows of Kenai Fjords National Park, the crew raised five to six inches of tread, the trail’s surface, vertically over a 200-foot horizontal stretch of the Harding Icefield trail.
Wrangell Island Trail Crew, Tongass National Forest
This crew was responsible for maintaining high-use zones surrounding the Tongass National Forest. They worked to assist the Recreation and Lands department, engaging in tasks such as corridor brushing, cabin maintenance and trail construction. Through collaborative efforts, the team took on the role of the first SCA trail crew for the district.
One of the main tasks involved constructing an extension trail spanning 300 feet, connecting Volunteer Park to Spur Road. Together, the crew improved nearly 10 miles of trail, built 300 feet of trail, maintained a 15-foot wooden walkway and received crucial certifications in chainsaw bucking, First Aid and CPR.
Kenai National Wildlife Refuge Corps Team, Kenai National Wildlife Refuge
This team worked to increase accessibility for visitors looking to recreate in the Swanson River and Swan Lake canoe systems at Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. These canoe systems, just north of Sterling, Alaska, were established back in the 1960s and 1970s, covering over 100 miles and connecting over 70 different lakes, two river systems and portage trails.
In total, the crew improved 26.2 miles of trail, 350 feet of boardwalk and 40.4 miles of shore/waterway.
Alaska All Women’s Fire Team, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & Preserve and Denali National Park
This all-female fire crew partnership between the SCA and National Park Service participated in fuels reduction work at Wrangell – St. Elias National Park and Denali National Park and was deployed on the Birch Creek and Lost Horse Creek fires near the Fairbanks area.
The objective of this team’s season was to perform fuels reduction work near structures to reduce the chance and potential catastrophic impact of wildland fire on Alaskan communities. Upon the end of the season, the crew improved 16.8 acres of land, provided assistance with two wildfires and received multiple certifications including Firefighter Training, Wildland Fire Behavior, Wildland Fire Chainsaws and Wilderness First Aid.