Veterans and Volunteers Join Forces for Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument

Sledge hammers, shovels, crow bars and pure muscle were the tools used by 21 community volunteers and 13 members of a Veterans Conservation Corps—as they worked side-by-side today on a trail restoration project in the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument, just outside Palm Springs, CA.

As we reported in a post last week, Edison International made a grant of $35,000 to the Conservation Lands Foundation to support the veterans crew. The crew is made up of all post-9/11 military veterans as part of the California Conservation Corps. Support from Edison International is enabling them to work in the monument to help stop erosion, clear brush and repair trail berms that were washed out last August by a flood. The project is one focus of the Conservation Lands Foundation’s Restoration Program, which builds partnerships between BLM, conservation corps, Friends’ volunteers and corporate donors to improve and restore the National Conservation Lands.

The volunteers came out for a one-day joint project, organized by Friends of the Desert Mountains and the Desert Trails Hiking Club. Working together, the whole team repaired almost two miles of trail. As the crew and volunteers took a break for lunch, two penisular bighorn sheep, an endangered species that relies on the National Monument for habitat, were spotted in the rocks above the trail.

We extend our heartfelt thanks to all the partners who made today’s event such a success, and we wish the Veterans Conservation Crew well as they continue working in the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument. BLM staffer and photographer Bob Wick was on hand and shared these photos.

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