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Two Conservation Projects Mark Wilderness Act's 50th in Wyoming

PHOTO: Two trail clearing and maintenance projects are scheduled in the Bridger Wilderness this fall, as part of the 50th anniversary celebration of the Wilderness Act. Photo credit: Public Lands Service Corps.
PHOTO: Two trail clearing and maintenance projects are scheduled in the Bridger Wilderness this fall, as part of the 50th anniversary celebration of the Wilderness Act. Photo credit: Public Lands Service Corps.
September 4, 2014

PINEDALE, Wyo. – Crews of young people are ready to get to work improving trails and upgrading access on public lands in Wyoming.

The projects are part of the Fifty for the 50th celebration of the Wilderness Act.

Bobby Grillo, regional supervisor for the Montana Conservation Corps, which is coordinating projects in Wyoming's Bridger Wilderness, says it provides young people with work experience, and education about the stewardship of public lands.

And he says there's another angle.

"More and more, young adults are feeling a need to get away from the classroom, their virtual connections, cellular devices, and have an authentic experience on the ground," he explains.

Two trail-clearing and maintenance projects are scheduled in the Bridger Wilderness this fall, where crews will cover about 25 miles.

Grillo says young people from around the nation applied for the positions. Nationwide, when projects are completed, more than 200,000 hours will have been spent to improve public lands and waterways.

Jamie Williams, president of The Wilderness Society, says despite what's going on in Congress, where about two dozen wilderness bills are stalled, wilderness designations have always been bipartisan efforts.

"It all starts on the ground, with local communities working together to protect places they care deeply about," he says. "They engage their congressional delegation in very bipartisan ways."

The projects are part of the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps, and take place on federal, state, local and tribal lands.

Deborah Courson Smith/Deb Courson Smith, Public News Service - WY