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New employment opportunities to provide young adults on-the-job training with our national forests

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (Aug 1, 2022) – The U.S. Forest Service, Blue Ridge Bartram Trail Conservancy and Southeast Conservation Corps are expanding their partnership to offer a natural resources career development program for fall 2022 for ages 18 to 30 or 35 if a veteran.
“This new young adult program is a result of the outstanding work our Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) program has accomplished with local high school youth,” said Brent Martin, Executive Director of the Blue Ridge Bartram Trail Conservancy. “We’re excited to expand our program and offer adults valuable conservation skills and federal hiring authorities that will give them a leg up when seeking employment in natural resources, and all while paying them for their time.”
The partnership will work with the Nantahala National Forest and the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest to employ and train young adults in safe and effective chainsaw use and trail maintenance on a 16-week crew from August 29, 2022 to December 20, 2022.
Participants who successfully complete the program will receive an AmeriCorps Education Award and the USDA Forest Service Public Lands Corps Noncompetitive Hiring Authority which provides participants more opportunities to apply for positions with the USDA Forest Service. To learn more about the six crew member positions and to apply, visit https://jobs.silkroad.com/ConservationLegacy/Careers/jobs/3503.
The YCC program formed in 2021 as a joint effort of the U.S. Forest Service, Blue Ridge Bartram Trail Conservancy, Southeast Conservation Corps, and Macon County Schools.
This year’s YCC crew recently completed the program’s second season of trail maintenance projects on the Bartram Trail.
“We couldn’t be happier with the work the YCC students accomplished this season,” said Nantahala District Ranger Troy Waskey. “The crew certainly left their mark on the Nantahala National Forest and paved the way for future projects like the upcoming young adult crew.”
The YCC crew consisted of members Noah Smith, Estela Acevedo Ruiz, Jacob Riley Rickles, Duggan Benson, Emily Rodman, and crew leader Taran Branscum. The crew focused on two sections of the Bartram Trail in Macon County: Lake Nantahala to Sawmill Gap and Tessentee Creek to Jones Gap. The Bartram Trail is one of the most heavily trafficked trails on the Nantahala National Forest.
From left to right, Estela Acevedo Ruiz, Noah Smith, Emily Rodman, and Duggan Benson are working on a set of rock stairs. Crew members are moving a rock that is about 150 – 250 pounds! As the crew works together, they call out commands to keep safety top priority.
From left to right, Brent Martin, Jacob Riley Rickles, Noah Smith, Emily Rodman, Estela Acevedo Ruiz, Duggan Benson, and Taran Branscum finish their last week working on a set of stairs with a retaining wall and rock cribbing to prevent further erosion. In all, the crew moved over 100 rocks to be placed under the stairs. The stairs are made from the locust tree which is rot resistant and was harvested locally. The locust and rock structures help keep a natural feel of the landscape. The stairs before lasted roughly 50 years, these stairs should also last just as long. It was a great last week for the crew!