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21CSC – Partners in Improving Public Lands & Waters: Anchorage Park Foundation at Anchorage’s Kincaid Park


Kincaid Park in Anchorage, AK is an easily-accessible wilderness retreat for city-dwellers. Located just south of the airport, the 1,400+ acre site offers spectacular views, designated areas for motocross and archery, and scenic year-round multi-use trails that wind through forested hills and along the coast.

In June 2017, a Youth Employment in Parks (YEP) crew with the Anchorage Park Foundation – a member organization of the 21CSC – and Anchorage Parks and Recreation worked to help stabilize and reroute a popular bluff trail from Kincaid Park to the Anchorage Coastal Wildlife Refuge.

“The trail is used by many people accessing the refuge for outdoor and wildlife-related activities and was subject to erosion. The trail erosion threatened to destabilize the bluff. The trail descended steeply and caused debris slides into the wetlands below,” said Joe Meehan, Land and Refuges Program Coordinator for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. “This project made access to the refuge easier for park and refuge users, and it assured protection of the wetlands.”

From June 12 – 15, a crew of 24 YEP members helped restore the trail using a practice known as “sidehilling” or “bench cutting.” The crew cut into the sandy hillside, creating a relatively flat surface for the trail.


Additionally, to prevent any further erosion, the crew installed 65 posts connected by 700 feet of rope railing. This new fence closes off an old “social trail” and encourages visitors to stay on the more sustainable sanctioned trail. The crew also installed over 300 plants, revegetating the slopes along the trail. The roots from these plants will help keep sand and soil from falling into the wetland.

“[This park] provides important wildlife habitat which is important to the community…this area is used for a variety of wildlife and outdoor activities, including wildlife viewing, waterfowl hunting, photography, nature study, and general outdoor activities, such as hiking and winter skiing,” said Meehan. “[Partnerships like this] help protect the wildlife and habitat resources we manage by directly conducting these types of projects, and also by developing community stewardship…[This partnership] puts local youth to work in the parks and refuge to develop their skills, and to promote their community stewardship ethic to help manage and protect park and refuge lands.”

Brad Fidel, Field Educator for Anchorage Parks and Recreation, stated that the YEP crew members walked away from this project not only with skills to prevent erosion, but knowledge about why controlling erosion is important.

“They learned trail building techniques and teamwork,” said Fidel. “They also learned about the Anchorage Coastal Wildlife Refuge and the importance of wildlife habitat.”

“I really love that I’m outside and I really like that I’m making the community a better place,” said Henry Joling, an 18-year-old crewmember. “We’re making Alaska even more beautiful than it already is.”

News reports on this project:

Young People Complete Projects to Reduce Phosphorus Pollution in Vermont Waterways as part of the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps

Vermont Youth Conservation Corps, a member of 21CSC, planting trees to improve water quality

With a grant through the Ecosystem Restoration Program, the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation has provided funding to support the Vermont Youth Conservation Corps (VYCC) as part of the 21st Century Service Conservation Corps to complete 11 weeks of water quality improvement projects throughout the state of Vermont during 2014.  The VYCC provides employment, training and education to young people ages 16-24 through the completion of high priority conservation projects around the state.

Phosphorus is one of Vermont’s greatest water quality challenges.  In Lake Champlain, phosphorus, combined with sediment, feeds toxic algae blooms, particularly in shallow sections of the Lake such as Missisquoi Bay, Saint Albans Bay, and the South Lake region.  These toxic blooms negatively impact public health, recreation, and our immediate enjoyment of the lake.

In 2014, as part of a multi-state, international effort to reduce the amount of phosphorous in Lake Champlain, the VYCC as part of the 21st Century Service Conservation Corps will field crews to complete water quality improvement projects including river and lake shoreline stabilization, planting of native trees to create riparian buffers, and the installation of engineered stone structures to help dissipate erosive forces in storm water impacted streams.  Projects have been developed in partnership with the Connecticut River Watershed Alliance, the White River Partnership, The Black River Action Team, the Lake Iroquois Association, the Winooski Natural Resource Conservation District, and the Vermont Lakewise Program.

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Urban Corps Youth to Gain Construction Job Skills Improving Historic Chicano Park in San Diego

Corpsmember Installing Irrigation Pipelines as part of 21CSC


Urban Corps of San Diego County has partnered with the City of San Diego to implement a $1.08 million park improvement project at the celebrated Chicano Park in the Barrio Logan neighborhood of San Diego. The park —listed on the National Register of Historic Places— is San Diego County Regional Park best known as an outdoor mural museum documenting Chicano history in colorful imagery. Chicano Park was developed after a month-long protest in 1970 by Chicano activists, when plans for the park were nearly set aside to make way for a California Highway Patrol station.

The Chicano Park Improvement Project is being made possible by a grant from the California Department of Housing and Community Development and charges Urban Corps with outreach, planning, design and build-out of a variety of enhancements. The project will result in much-needed safety improvements, recreational opportunities, and a more vibrant public park while helping disadvantaged young adults in the Urban Corps program succeed in San Diego’s 21st century workforce. At least 20 Corpsmembers will gain valuable construction and landscaping job skills while studying at Urban Corps Charter School to obtain their high school diplomas.

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