Press Release – CA Youth Crew and Volunteers Build Trails, Restore Habitat

Public-Private Partnership Supports Important Local Conservation Projects

Whitethorn, CA (July 1, 2013) – A nine-person crew of young adults with American Conservation Experience (ACE) worked side-by-side with nine volunteers from the Mattole Restoration Council, Lost Coast Interpretive Association, and Sanctuary Forest and staff from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to build new trails and restore meadow habitat in the King Range National Conservation Area.

The King Range National Conservation Area is part of the National Conservation Lands – protected public lands and waterways managed by the BLM that have joined the ranks of our national parks and wildlife refuges as special places that preserve our natural, historical and scientific treasures. In California, this includes nearly five million acres including national monuments, national conservation areas, wilderness areas, wild and scenic rivers and national scenic and historic trails.

The Mattole Restoration Council, Lost Coast Interpretive Association, and Sanctuary Forest are all part of the Friends Grassroots Network, a network of organizations that work with the Conservation Lands Foundation (CLF) to support the land management and conservation work of the BLM on the National Conservation Lands. In 2012, the Friends Grassroots Network donated more than 100,000 hours of volunteer labor to the National Conservation Lands.

“We are delighted with the support and partnership of the local community groups and the Conservation Lands Foundation on volunteer trail and restoration projects that will improve hiking access into the backcountry and protect habitat for native plants and animals,” said Mark Conley, Program Lead with the CA National Conservation Lands, BLM-California.

“From removal of invasive plants that choke out native vegetation, to maintenance of roads and trails needed to promote recreational access, and the reestablishment of vital wetlands and wildlife habitat, there is pressing restoration work to be done on the National Conservation Lands, here in California as well as throughout our National Conservation Lands,” commented Sam Goldman, California Program Director for the Conservation Lands Foundation.

Today’s activities marked the launch of extensive volunteer work by each of the groups that will continue throughout the summer, including educational lectures and hikes by the Lost Coast Interpretive Association, collection of native grass seeds by the Mattole Restoration Council to help restore grassland and riparian habitat, and the construction of new trails by the youth crew of AmeriCorps members with the American Conservation Experience.

“This opportunity to get out and do some hands-on restoration work is a great way to start the summer volunteer season,” stated Cheryl Lisin, Board President of Lost Coast Interpretive Association.

“The King Range is an important source of inspiration for our work and the people who live and visit here. It is also an important stronghold for native grasses. The remnant grasslands in the King Range give us a starting point in an effort to protect and restore prairies throughout the conservation area and the Mattole watershed,” commented Hezekiah Allen, Executive Director of the Mattole Restoration Council.

According to Keith Trainor, ACE’s California Director of Operations, the youth crew will also work on conservation efforts in Lava and Tule Mountain Wilderness Study Area, Black Rock Desert- High Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, Inyo Mountains Wilderness, Carrizo Plain National Monument, Piedras Blancas Outstanding Natural Area and Cache Creek Wilderness. Last season, youth crews built or maintained thirty-three miles of trail, helped restore twenty-one acres of wildlife habitat and worked on four miles of fencing.

Reflecting on today’s efforts, Conservation Lands Foundation’s Goldman remarked, “We are thrilled that the BLM and partner groups are working together to ensure these lands are protected. Today’s trail and habitat project is an example of the great work that can get done in the National Conservation Lands and we look forward to future projects.”

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