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Change for summer youth corps concerns county commissioners

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – An administrative change for the Youth Conservation Corps program in Garfield County could mean a more rigorous time commitment for the young workers who enlist.

Last year, Garfield County partnered with both the Grand Junction-based Western Colorado Conservation Corps and the Rocky Mountain Youth Conservation Corps out of Steamboat Springs to oversee work crews on public lands here.

Recently, it was decided that the Rocky Mountain organization would be the sole provider of those services in Garfield County this year, Steve Anthony, who helps coordinate the program for the county, advised county commissioners this week.

Priority will still be given to Garfield County youth ranging in age from 18-25 for work crews in this county, he said.

Crew work dates will be from June 10 through Sept. 13, with crew members receiving a $310 stipend per week and AmeriCorps education award of $1,468 for completing 450 hours of service, Anthony said.

The big change from last year, he said, is that crews will be expected to be in the field 24 hours a day, seven days a week, working, camping and spending off-time together. There would be occasional breaks for resupply and laundry, he said.

County Commissioner Tom Jankovsky expressed some reservations with that arrangement.

“That is a more rigorous time commitment,” he said. “I don’t want this to be a boot camp. I want it to be a work experience for students.”

Last year, the county contributed $40,000 for each crew of eight to 10 workers for projects on U.S. Forest and BLM lands in Garfield County. The commissioners will consider a new contract with the Rocky Mountain Youth Corps group in May.

Among area projects tentatively listed for the year will be trail work in the East Elk, Mitchell, Grizzly and No Name creek areas near Glenwood Springs and New Castle, as well as the Sweetwater Lake area in the Flat Tops.

Fence work throughout the White River National Forest is also listed, as are three projects straddling the Garfield/Mesa County line in the Cayton and Wallace creek areas.

jstroud@postindependent.com


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