Public-Private Effort Launches 50 Conservation Jobs Projects for Youth and Vets to Honor 50th Anniversary of Wilderness Act

Jun 20, 2014
Conservation corps employ youth and veterans in 25 states and DC to serve as stewards of public lands

Fifty conservation projects in 50 wild places throughout the U.S. will be completed this year to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act and to celebrate the launch of the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps (21CSC).  The Wilderness Society and the Partnership for the 21st Century Conservation Corps are coordinating this effort.

The Fifty for the 50th Campaign, through the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps, will employ young people and veterans on our public lands and waterways, such as those managed by the US Forest Service, US Department of the Interior, and state, local and tribal lands.  Projects involve work such as trail building, repairs and other improvements to preserve the areas’ natural qualities and ensure access by visitors. 

Locations of the projects include designated wilderness in remote areas and also prospective wilderness areas such as Whitefish Trail in Montana’s Flathead National Forest and Turkey Pen Gap Trail in the Big Laurel Branch area of Tennessee.  Other projects are in more urban “backyard wild places” such as Bladensburg Waterfront Park, just outside of Washington, DC and Candlestick Point State Park in San Francisco.  

When completed, the Fifty for the 50th projects will have improved or restored more than 40,000 acres, built 887 miles of trails, planted 325 acres of trees on public lands and corps members will have spent nearly 200,000 hours working on our public lands and waters. See a map and description of the projects at www.wilderness.org/50-50th.

“In 1964, Americans made a big commitment to the preservation of their public lands by passing the Wilderness Act,” said Jamie Williams, President of The Wilderness Society.  “As we celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of this historic law, we are recommitting ourselves to fulfilling our responsibility to care for America’s public lands. Fortunately, we have a strong and vibrant community of conservation corps working with us to ensure future generations will be able to enjoy wild places.”

“Every year, conservation corps employ nearly 30,000 young people, restoring millions of acres of wild places, building tens of thousands of miles of trails and planting millions of trees,” said Harry Bruell, Co-Chair of the Partnership for the 21st CSC.  “In the next four years, we hope to more than double the number of young people working in corps across the country.  These young people are the future champions of our wild places and will ensure the next 50 years of public lands conservation.”   

The June launch of the 50 conservation stewardship programs is part of Great Outdoors America Week, an annual event that draws hundreds of people and organizations to Washington to celebrate to our natural heritage and to advocate for preserving public lands and outdoor experiences for all Americans.  The event will feature a hike in Washington, nature activities led by the Outdoors Alliance for Kids, a briefing on Capitol Hill about the effects of nature in healing veterans, and the screening of a film about the first African American team to attempt to reach the summit of Denali, North America’s highest peak.  

The Wilderness Society is working with the Partnership for the 21st Century Conservation Corps (21CSC) to engage the corps across the U.S. to complete 50 conservation projects.  The Wilderness Society is the leading wild public lands conservation organization working to protect wilderness and inspire Americans to care for our wild places. Founded in 1935, and now with more than 500,000 members and supporters, TWS has led the effort to permanently protect 110 million acres of wilderness and to ensure sound management of our shared national lands.

21CSC is a national effort to put young Americans and veterans to work protecting, restoring and enhancing America’s great outdoors.  21CSC participants work in cities and on public lands on programs that range from tree planting and trail building to wildland firefighting and disaster response. The program is operated through a public-private partnership between government, industry, non-profit and community organizations, including The Wilderness Society. 

 

Contacts:  Michael Carroll, The Wilderness Society, 970-946-9043, michael_carroll@tws.org

Michael Reinemer, The Wilderness Society, 202-429-3949, Michael_reinemer@tws.org

Michael Carroll
970-946-9043