May 23rd - November 23rd Project Leader Chris Bremer 208 484 3870 firstname.lastname@example.org
For the last hitch of the field season the California Wildcorps lived in the lap of luxury - staying in old Coast Guard barracks in the shadow of the Piedras Blancas lighthouse. One of the main perks of the lighthouse was waking up to beautiful sunrises after sleeping in a cozy bed each night. We started out the hitch re-routing an existing trail at the lighthouse and widening another section of trail. From there the Wildcorps removed a couple acres of invasive mustard plants, invasive iceplant, stacked lumber, dug out and re-routed garden irrigation, dug drainages, painted fences, raked and sorted gravel and rocks, as well as completed other small jobs around the property. Mid-hitch we had the opportunity to take a free tour of the Hearst Castle - the extravagence was a huge change from our lifestyles for the past six months, for sure. (One of the tapestries at the castle was from Versailles and apparently there is a replica of it in the Louvre!) After our castle tour, Trevor treated us to incredible cheeseburgers from the Hearst Ranch and Josh went for a final November dip in the Pacific.
Looking back on the season, the California Wildcorps put in a lot of hard work, hiked hundreds of miles, were visited by lots of wildlife, laughed a lot, hacked a lot, and ended it all with a hearty group hug.
California Wildcorps 2011, over and out.
This hitch, Wildcorps spent most of their time cleaning up an illegal marijuana grow site in the Cache Creek Wilderness. A Mexican cartel was responsible for the destruction of this portion of the wilderness and for all of the refuse littering the site. Assisting Wildcorps were Gary Sharpe, the assistant Ukiah BLM district manager, and bazooka Joe, our armed escort in case mischievous cartel workers should cross our path. Fortunately, Cache Creek Wilderness was a very peaceful and beautiful locale. Volunteer horsepackers led by Bill Knispel eagerly assisted the crew by packing in gear and water. All told, approximately 1000 pounds of garbage was gathered up. This garbage mainly consisted of water piping that was laid out in grid patterns amidst a maze of chemise.
In addition to the cleanup work, Wildcorps also widened a large swath of the Blue Ridge Trail.
Here are the numbers:
1000 pounds of trash collected
2730 ft of trail widened
The much awaited Surprise Hitch has come and gone now. The first big surprise we had was that, instead of working in California, we worked in Nevada on land managed by BLM California. Our second surprise was...we were able to stay in a cabin all hitch long...Steven's Camp. Lastly, our third surprise was that Chris Sparks and Jarrod Ball of the SCA and Mark Conley of California BLM joined us to do some work. Having worked in the Redwoods just over a month ago where trees were towering several hundred feet over our heads and then coming to Surprise where the nearest tree over 15 feet was miles away was quite a change. Nonetheless, the Surprise Valley BLM district was equally beautiful. Much of our work here involved decommissioning illegal ATV roads. We also did some fencework, removed an illegal structure, and helped to build a deer hang at a hunting cabin.
Here are the numbers:
3 miles fence repair
9550 linear feet of road closures
1 deer hang structure built
1 illegal antenna removed
3 cubic yards of fill moved to fix road ditch
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. Much of the hitch, we spent continuing our work restoring McKabe Springs by creating burn piles with the limbs of downed juniper trees. The trunks of the downed junipers were bucked into smaller sections with a cross cut so that they can be carried down to the road and out of the WSA by a future work crew. Midway through the hitch, we took two days and headed out on the road to hang up the aforementioned signs. To reward the hardworking Wildcorps crew and to save drive time, after the first day of hanging signs, we stayed in the nicest accomodations available in Burney, California, and had a scrumptious pizza dinnner from a local restaurant. By the end of our hitch, snow had started to cover the higher elevations in the surrounding areas...and frost had set in on our work site at McKabe Springs. Our work at McKabe Springs was completed just in time.
Here are the numbers:
5 more acres restored
25 WSA / No Firewood Cutting signs placed
After three and a half months, it was time for the Wildcorps Team to bid farewell to the North Coast of California and head to a drier locale. We moved to the northeast corner of the state to the Alturas BLM field office located in the desert. It has been quite a change in scenery going from the dense coastal forests of the North Coast to the wide open vistas of the desert, but it has been a welcome change. Our project location of McKabe springs was illegally used as a firewood gathering site about 5 years ago, despite it being located in a Wilderness Study Area. We are limbing all of the illegally felled Juniper trees and piling the limbs in piles to be burned by the local fire crew. With the remainder of the Juniper wood, we are bucking it up for future use as firewood by needy families in the area. When the work is completed, the site will be restored to an open grassy plain, the wood will be keeping families warm, and the local wildlife will be happy with the new grassy foraging.
To switch things up midway through the hitch, we took the opportunity to help out with the Alturas Balloon Festival. That same day, we also checked out the Alturas Migratory Bird Festival, Chili Cook-Off, Alturas Art Fest, and the Modoc County History Museum. All members were able to get a ride in a hot air balloon in appreciation for their participation as part of the balloon crew!
Here are the numbers:
5 acres restored
Our time in Headwaters started off with the sad news that Abi had decided to leave Wildcorps. However, our time in Headwaters ended with the happy arrival of Carolyn D'Aprix to the Wildcorps team.
Headwaters is a beautiful forest preserve with a single trail that, after 6 miles, leads to an amazing grove of old growth redwoods. Our project was to reroute a wet section of trail according to the specifications of trial designer Chris Turner. We were able to take this 600 foot section of trail from its very beginnings to 500 feet of nearly completed trail. There are several large logs and stumps needing BLM chainsaw attention before the trail can be completed in full. From blazing the trail through the undergrowth, to duffing, to bench cutting the trail, the project proved to be challenging, rewarding and enjoyable.
Here are the numbers:
500 feet of new trail
10 feet of crib wall
My name is Carolyn D’Aprix. I was raised in upstate New York and attended the State University at Buffalo. After two semesters, I took time off to reorganize my thoughts while living and working in some of the country's most beautiful places. Within the past year, I have managed to float around the country, spending time in Maine, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, California, and Oregon. I am a live music enthusiast! I love to groove, hoop, and hack. I also love to eat raw garlic (good for you!) and lots of ice cream (not so good). Back in the Golden State, I am very excited to take a walk on the wild side!
Carolyn joined Wildcorps late in hitch #7. Welcome to Wildcorps...group hug!
My name is Abi Baltuskonis. I am from San Antonio, Texas. Thus far, I haven’t had the opportunity to explore the outdoors to the extent I’d like to. And so my journey with SCA begins; where it will lead, only I will know. If any of you visit my crew, I’d appreciate if you brought my favorite candy.
After our sixth hitch, Abi decided to leave Wildcorps and pursue other options. Best wishes from Wildcorps!
There were many tough days this hitch...days when people were heard at night, saying in their sleep, "I am too sore to sleep." We wheelbarrowed large volumes of gravel onto the trail to improve the tread...for hours and hours. And we dug out the steep hillsides on a section of new trail...for hours and hours. When you hike Lacks Creek trail, realize our sweat helped to compact the trail.
Our first day of the hitch, we cleared out our new campsite to make it into an acceptable horse camp and dug trail to connect it to the already existing trail. For the next two days, we dug out stumps on a newer section of Lack Creek Trail and wheelbarrowed fine gravel onto older sections of the trail. On Friday, we cleared a different trail just up the road, ensuring that it was free of branches and downed logs. To celebrate reaching the halfway point in our season, we went to the local Yurok Tribal Salmon Festival and had a nice local salmon dinner and watched the festivities. For the remainder of our hitch, we dug and dug and dug, creating two beautiful sections of new trail on the growing Lacks Creek trail. Next, we will move onto Headwaters Forest Preserve down the road.
Here are the numbers:
582 feet of new trail
282 feet of improved tread (graveled)
30 feet of trench dug
4 grade dips installed
1 mile of trail cleared
3 logs cross cut
Our time in the Kings Range of California has come to an end and we have moved on to Lack Creek near Arcata California. What does this mean?
-We don't have to fit all our food into 6 bear cans
-We don't have to hike out mid hitch to resupply food
-We don't have to hike in much of anything
-We get to eat fresh fruit and veggies
-Food prep involves more than add water and stir
-We can go into town mid hitch if we want
-We get to use a two burner stove and a table and a solar shower, etc
Life is good. And certainly different. Car camping may take a bit of getting used to.
We started our hitch by removing lots of dead down woody debris from the Lacks Creek Trailhead. It went from looking like a war zone to a beatiful and inviting trailhead for hikers, horsepackers, and bikers. After 2 days of cleaning the trailhead, we moved onto the Lacks Creek trail where we fixed stream crossings, removed logs, and did some new trail construction. On Saturday evening, we had the opportunity to check out Eureka Arts Alive! and see the character and characters of the local community. Check out our work numbers below:
3 miles of trail cleared
132 ft of New Trail
75 ft of gravel drains
3 trees felled
2 logs cross cut
7 grade dips created
267 ft of retread
1 check dam
1 French (or Freedom) Drain
Day #1 - We started at Windy Point on Nate's Birthday and had a night out at Punta Gorda...not the best night of sleep. We tore down decrepit beach shelters and fixed creek crossings today.
Day #2 - We moved onto Cooksie Spur Trail and set up camp overlooking the beautiful Pacific Ocean with the Punta Gorda Lighthouse in the distance. Once again, we tore down shelters and fixed creek crossings.
Day #3 - We worked on two reroutes today, one for a section of trail which was destroyed over this past winter and one reroute for a section which would have been destroyed this upcoming winter.
Day #4 - Once we completed our reroutes, we moved on to Spanish Flat to camp there.
Day #5 & 6 - Both days we tore down more beach shelters and started work decompacting and revegetating an old two track road. Paul the Backcountry Ranger resupplied us with food on day 5...thank you!
Day #7 & 8 - Big Flat, Wildcorps has returned! We moved our camp to Big Flat while continuing to remove poorly constructed beach shelters. We also continued decompacting two track roads.
Day #9 - After decompacting more two track, we tore down camp at Big Flat and started our hike out to the trailhead for our day #10 pickup. We overnighted at Horse Mountain Creek.
Day #10 - Paul the Backcountry Ranger picked us up at 9AM and we cleaned gear.
35 Beach Shelters Destroyed
8 creek crossings graveled
550 ft of rerouted trail
2 Check Dams installed
12 ft Crib wall repair
8800 square ft of decompacted/revegetated two track
4 miles lopped
Due to a poorly functioning brace and bit drill on Hitch #2, we returned to Big Flat Creek camp deep in the Kings Range National Conservation Area to finish the cribbing walls we had started in Hitch #2 and to create even more retaining structures. By the end of Hitch #3, we had created 200 feet of cribbing structures over the past two hitches to help sure up the Rattlesnake Ridge trail. Our hope is that the structure will be in place for many decades to come as the terrain around the trail continually shifts and landslides.
Aside from the hard work, we were able to watch our local black bears from both near and far. We were able to gorge ourselves on plenty of Thimble berries, Black berries, and Huckleberries.
200 feet of crib wall constructed
7.5 cubic yards of fill moved
This hitch, we descended further into the Kings Range and even made it out to the ocean clearing the Rattlesnake Ridge trail. We cleared 3 miles and cross cut 42 logs off of the trail. To assist with two vague stream crossings, we built 3 cairns to calrify the intended route. We also began constructing numerous crib walls and, although our progress was hindered by a malfunctioning drill, we left them nearly complete and will see them through to completion on our next hitch. Reaching the ocean and relaxing on the Lost Coast Beach was certainly a highlight of our recent time in the Kings Range...as was Josh's steamrolling of an entire Poison Oak bush.
3 miles of trail cleared
42 logs cross cut off trail
On our first hitch, we cleared 15 miles of trails and cross cut 81 logs. To do this, we hiked over 50 miles and worked over 80 hours. The entire time, we were surrounded by the beauty of the Kings Range and sweeping views of the Pacific. Our first hike into camp up the Lightning Trail will forever be burned into our memories with the heavy packs and the numerous downed logs yet to be cleared. And Tyler Green was fortunate enough to see his first bear...be sure to ask him the context of his first bare encounter.
15 miles of trail cleared
81 logs cross cut off trail
Starting on May 23rd, 5 members and one project leader will gather to create Wildcorps 2011. The summer will begin in the backcountry of the Kings Range National Conservation Area and the crew will move north to Arcata, then Alturas, then Surprise Valley, then Ukiah, and lastly, Piedras Blancas. All the while the crew will be working in designated wilderness areas on BLM land. Projects will range from trail construction to site rehabilitation to restoration. This website will be updated twice monthly to communicate the progress from the field.
From May 23rd to June 2nd, Wildcorps members, along with SCA corps members from around the country were trained in the ways of the SCA, taught Wilderness First Aid, educated in Leave No Trace training, and basic trailwork skills. During that time, the group also had the opportunity to get to know one another and become the cohesive unit of environmental force that is the 2011 Wildcorps. On our return travel to California we had the oportunity to check out some hot springs in Oregon and Crater Lake National Park.
WHADDUP. This is my first experience with SCA and I’m super stoked to be working for the California Wildcorps. Although I have zero trail maintenance experience, like John Muir, I enter the forest with a childlike sense of wonder. I hail from New Bloomfield, PA and graduated from Marist College in Poughkeepsie, NY in the spring of 2010. After graduation I worked for the NYS Dept. of Enviro. Conservation as the Giant Hogweed Program Assistant. During that time I spent my days traipsing through the woods of the northeast in a tyvec suit killing invasive plants with copious amounts of herbicide and a sharp shovel. In my spare time I enjoy climbing trees, investigating and formulating conspiracy theories, rowing boats, and hanging with my homeslice, Mark Wahlberg.
Hi, I'm Nathan D Gates and I approve this message!
I'm a California native who enjoys, surfing, climbing, ultimate frisbee, yoga, backpacking, and being wild. I've lived on a farm / ranch for the last 14 years of my life and built several houses. I was on an SCA 2010 trail crew and the experience was so spectacular I hope to work with the SCA in the future.
My name is Josh Otto and I’m from Washington State. I’ve served on two SCA high school crews. One in Massachusetts and Connecticut on the Appalachian Trail and a second in Denali National Park. I hope to learn more trail working skills and build a trail that will last at least 100 years. Come visit us and if you do, bring me my favorite candy, peanut butter cups.
Despite graduating from the University of Arizona in May of 2011, I have no idea what I want to do or where I will end up in life. For now, I’m super pumped to be working with my SCA trail crew in Northern California. Last summer, while working on a crew on Mount Rogers in Virginia, I truly enjoyed trail work and the amazing community that goes along with it. This summer, I am really excited for the beautiful places we will be working in and the really cool people I will be sharing this great experience with. If you come to visit us, please be sure to bring me chocolate. Dark is preferable, but any kind will do.
|Chris Bremer, Project Leader|
|Hitch #12 Piedras Blancas Takes a Walk on the Wild Side|
|Hitch #11 - Ukiah - Haiku backwards!|
|Hitch #10 - Surprise the Nevada Wildcorps|
|Hitch #9 - Alturas 2 - McKabe Springs is Back with a Vengeance|
|Hitch #8 - Alturas and McKabe Springs|
|Hitch #7 - Headwaters Forest Preserve|
|Hitch #6 - Lacks Creek USA Part Deux|
|Hitch #5 - Lacks Creek USA|
|Hitch #4 - The Lost Coast|
|Hitch #3 - Rattlesnake Ridge Trail - Back for more|
|Hitch #2 - Rattlesnake Ridge Trail|
|Hitch #1 - Kings Crest Trail|