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

The Fellowship

Three shovels for the Jawbone ladies under the sky

Seven for the Randy boys of the mountain halls

Nine helmets for the Mortal Men doomed to dig,

One management area for the Desert Tortoise on his dusty throne

In the Land of Rands where the lithified soils lie.

One cause to rule them all, One purpose to find them, One desert tortoise to bring them all and in the dust bind them

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Hitch 8 was our final time working in the desert! The Wildcorps crew was lucky enough to spend the first half of the hitch hanging out with mules in Bishop, CA before performing our final days of work in the desert alongside all of our DRC friends.

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Desert Restoration Corps-Jawbone crew. Ladies Hitch 12.

Farewell to our SC 120 camp,

Dancing Joshua trees,

Granite boulders.

To black-tailed jackrabbits,

Robber’s Roost,

Nelly’s Nipple.

Farewell and good riddance to the wind storms,

SC 5,

Rednecks of LA2.

Farewell and good remembrance to lounging in sundresses,         

Afternoon hikes to oases,

To small evening fires and coyote howls.

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The Wild50 made history this hitch. We made our last left on the 395. That might not seem like much to you, but it’s pretty significant to us. The 395, aka Highway 395, is much like the spine of California. It’s THE road to be on if you are travelling the span of California east of the Sierra Nevada. Making our last left signifies a new leg in our Wild50 experience.

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Day 1

We are at war with the desert crazy. We have been in battle before, but this hitch seems like it will be more testing than our previous bouts. Desert crazy can arise from numerous events: sleep deprivation from unexpected weather and stir-fried brains from unimaginable heat are just the surface. We know what we signed up for, we wouldn’t be here if we didn’t.

Day 2

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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.