June 4 is National Trails Day! In celebration, we’re highlighting the great community-supported work that happens year-round to maintain the more than 100 miles of trails found in Seattle’s park system. One program helping to build, maintain and restore trails is the Youth Green Corps (YGC).
YGC is a nine-month program that provides environmental stewardship training to young people ages 18-24. The program is run in partnership between Seattle Parks and Recreation and Goodwill. Participants work on restoring trails, urban forests and parks, and also receive educational and career training.
Many YGC members are homeless youth or people from underserved communities. In an effort to address youth employment and create a pathway into green jobs, the program teaches site management, restoration skills and management, tool safety, native plant species identification and invasive plant identification. Goodwill offers training and classes such as GED preparation, basic computer skills, reading and writing, and/or English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL).
What has the YGC been up to?
The YGC has been doing restoration work at Puget Park in West Seattle. Members have been laying crushed rock as an initial layer for the beginnings of a trailhead and removing blackberry bushes. The crew has also been working at the Washington Park Arboretum to surface trails and to finish moving a gravel pile from a recent Earth Day project. YGC members have also started a new trail project at Lewis Park in North Beacon Hill. Recently, members were hauling out trash and brick rubble when they discovered a native bumblebee hive that would be impacted by the projected route. While these bees are not endangered, they are most certainly an asset to the native habitat, so the crew suited up in Tyvek protection suits (pictured) and successfully moved the beehive without destroying it or getting attacked.
From removing invasive plants, to hauling rocks, to planting and much more, the Youth Green Corps provides hands-on help to maintain and restore our many miles of trails for the enjoyment of all.