Desert Restoration Corps

The Desert Restoration Corps (DRC) is a partnership between the Student Conservation Association (SCA), Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and California Off-Highway Vehicle Commission (CA-OHV) which has produced a decade of monitoring, preserving, and repairing fragile habitat in the Mojave and Colorado Deserts of Southern California.

The first eight months of the DRC are based out of Ridgecrest, CA. Each team will live and work out of remote tent camps for 10-day periods while undertaking projects, allowing members to fully experience the lands being served. While the majority of the season is devoted to mitigating the impacts of Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) recreation in the desert surrounding Ridgecrest, Teams will take on additional projects elsewhere in California as the heat of the desert summer encroaches on the final two months of the DRC season. Projects typically include habitat restoration, fence/barrier construction, public outreach, trail work/assessment, invasive species management, and resource (i.e. water, wildlife) monitoring.

Members of the Desert Restoration Corps receive or have the option to receive the following trainings or certifications:

  • CPR Certification
  • Wilderness First Responder Certification
  • Leave No Trace (LNT) Trainer Course
  • S212 Chainsaw Certification
  • Advanced Off Highway Vehicle training
  • Peer Leadership
  • Restoration Philosophy and Practice
  • Trail Skills

During the 10-month DRC season, members will restore, protect, and monitor thousands of acres of desert wilderness and will complete a number of other conservation projects. The Peer Leadership model will also provide leadership experience for all members.   

Applicants must be between 18-25 years of age and must pass a background check.

The DRC is one of SCA’s most challenging programs. Members should be prepared to live and work as a small community in very remote locations. Environmental conditions can be harsh, and the projects themselves are physically and mentally challenging. However, those able to meet these challenges will receive an incredible experience!

Related Posts & Program Information

Seventeen days, one basin, 30ish twenty-somethings, swinging tools, Leave No Trace, community dialogue, wild burros, and a steady stream of pnemothoraces. Septoberfest crept by through extremes of heat and cold. Then suddenly it was over.
As we pulled off the 4x4 trail and onto Trona Road, the Owens Peak Crew clamored for their cell phones and begged their PL to turn on the radio.

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Our hitch started with a tour of some of the Alturas Wilderness Study Areas by our agency contact Claude Singleton. We were able to see beautiful Pit River Canyon from far above and we also visited Timbered Crater and Lava WSAs. This tour was intended to get us oriented for an upcoming project of signing the perimeter of these three WSAs with Wilderness Study and No Firewood Cutting signs.

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The crew arrived in Ridgecrest rip-roaring and ready to go! The first five days were a wonderful experience to learn and get to know one another. Our house serves as a cozy abode where all sorts of fun games and activities can go down, I must say 713 E. Church is a pretty sweet place to live.

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The second season of restoration work in the Owens Peak Wilderness is under way. The crew, gathered from every corner of the country and mildly favoring the mid-west, has pushed through new experiences, taken on unanticipated but rewarding challenges, and has thought deeply about what it means to live within an intentional community.

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Parents Corner

Your child is about to embark on a life-changing experience, where they will have the opportunity to meet new friends, explore potential careers, gain leadership skills, and accomplish hands-on conservation work that will have a lasting impact on the planet.