[August 3, 2018]
The Baxter Youth Conservation Corps, which was launched by Friends in 2017, recently completed its second season of trail work in Baxter State Park.
“This program offers summer jobs for youth from the Katahdin region, but it also provides mentoring opportunities, networking, and career skills training” said Aaron Megquier, Executive Director of Friends of Baxter State Park. “We offered 20 full-time trail crew positions to local youth this summer. Each youth participant signs on for an 80-hour term of service at $12 per hour. We’re proud that these wages stay right in local communities and support the economy of the Katahdin region. It also helps local teens feel a sense of ownership and connection to Baxter State Park, which many of them have never visited before.”
During four weeks in July and early August, crews installed 100 stepping stones, built seven bog bridges, blazed 6.2 miles of trail, and completed more than 14 miles of trail corridor definition work. This work was focused on the Blueberry Ledges, Foss and Knowlton Ponds, Abol Stream, Abol Pond, and Middle Fowler trails. Crew members also built an entirely new 1.5-mile trail on land owned by Baxter State Park in the town of Mount Chase. This new trail is already open to the public.
The Baxter Youth Conservation Corps offers a southern crew based in Millinocket, as well as a northern crew based in Patten. For each crew, two experienced adult leaders provide supervision, training, and daily transportation to the work site with a van shuttle. This year’s youth participants came from the communities of Millinocket, East Millinocket, Medway, Lincoln, Patten, Sherman, Mount Chase, Benedicta, and Oakfield.
In addition to trail work, youth participated in several different career workshops, as well as a resume-writing workshop in partnership with Eastern Maine Community College. Friends is planning further expansion of the Baxter Youth Conservation Corps in 2019, with six weeks of work scheduled.
This project was funded in part by the Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund, in which proceeds from the sale of a dedicated instant lottery ticket (currently Moose Money) are used to support outdoor recreation and natural resource conservation. For more information, about MOHF, go to www.maine.gov/ifw/MOHF.html.