Small teams of young people tackle projects that benefit Vermont’s people and land.

Conservation crews:

  • Build and maintain trails,
  • Improve wildlife habitat,
  • Improve state park facilities, and
  • Reduce erosion and improve the health of our waterways.
VYCC Backcountry Trail Building

Trail building is an art and a science, and it is hard physical work that involves finding and moving very large rocks, crushing stone into coarse gravel, and building stairs, water drainage structures, and footbridges. VYCC crews build new and repair existing trails that provide safe and enjoyable user experience while protecting the area’s ecosystem and watershed. Along the way, Corps Members add industry terminology to their vocabulary: duff, gargoyle, turnpiking, puncheon, waterbar, and corridor are but a few.

WATERSHED RESTORATION & EROSION MITIGATION

Vermont’s landscape is defined by its rivers, lakes and wetlands and the quality of these waters is tied to the health of our watersheds. VYCC is part of the movement to strengthen Vermont’s resiliency by putting young people to work on watershed projects that reduce erosion, nutrient pollution and storm water runoff and thereby help prevent catastrophic flooding and harmful algal blooms. Class 4 road rehabilitation, floodplain restoration and green storm water infrastructure installation are just a few of the many types of projects that VYCC crews have completed that have a direct impact on the water quality of Vermont.

More specifically, VYCC’s watershed restoration work encompass three kinds of projects:

Road/Trail Rehabilitation
Crews implement Best Management Practices that reduce erosion, sedimentation and nutrient pollution; complete mapping and ground trothing; improve drainage; and reduce river-road connectivity.

Floodplain Restoration
Crews remove non-native invasive species, establish riparian buffers, restore wetlands, remove berms, and complete in-stream projects.

Green Storm water Infrastructure
Crews install, monitor, and maintain GSI’s (groundwater/surface water interface). Projects are in both urban and rural areas; and crews can work in conjunction with heavy machinery.

Park Infrastructure

State parks need maintenance, improvements, and repairs: trails, campsites, sheds, composting toilets, and kiosks need replacing and repair over time. All projects improve the user experience and enhance park infrastructure.

multi-use trails

Many Vermont towns offer pedestrian routes that improve safety and access. VYCC crews maintain and improve existing trails, and construct new routes. Pedestrian routes are required by the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) to be universally accessible; to this end, VYCC crews attend to width, grade, and trail surface.

VYCC crews build and maintain multi-use and multi-season trails that accommodate skiing and snowshoeing, including rail-to-trail projects. In addition, crews construct and maintain mountain biking trails, which require specific structures and techniques, such as insloped turns, elevated platforms, rock gardens, and ramps.

wildlife

VYCC completes projects in the Green Mountain National Forest, the Missisquoi Wildlife Refuge, and other protected areas across Vermont. Projects help restore balance to natural ecosystems, including construction and installation of bat and duck boxes, apple tree release (so that wild trees can become a reliable food source), and removal of non-native invasive plant species. Forest management includes reforestation and timber stand improvement.

Before VYCC I was only marginally aware of myself as a part of a greater natural world – cities were my life. I feel more comfortable interacting with other people, and I realized that everyone has an interesting story if you ask the right questions. VYCC has changed the way I think about being human – that we are not isolated, and that this planet is not only ours.”

— Eleanor (“Nory”)