By Lauren Westmoreland
The nationally recognized and award-winning Student Trail Crew is a summer work program, located in the Plumas and Lassen national forests, for high school teens.
“We’re very happy to be bringing this program back, and we have a sustainable covid risk management plan that will allow this to proceed no matter what,” said Mandy Beatty, Trails Director at Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship.
Partners working with on the coronavirus risk management plan include the Conservation Legacy, Plumas and Sierra County Public Health departments, Plumas Charter School, and SBTS Board Member Dr. Rob Bixler, Beatty explained.
The program teaches teens how to build trails, survive in the outdoors and more. During the summer work season, SBTS Student Trail Crew members are supervised by two adult crew leaders that are familiar with the work area, are experts in trail restoration, and are well versed in backcountry safety.
SBTS, in conjunction with various partnerships and grants, has created a highly successful program to provide young people in Plumas and Lassen counties the opportunity to gain work experience, perhaps even serving as a first job for many.
The need for such a program was highlighted in 2019, when SBTS had eight youth positions to fill and received a whopping 42 applications. “There aren’t a lot of local student employment options and having to turn down so many interested students really emphasized the interest level in the program,” said Beatty.
To flex for the need, SBTS is going to be hiring three crews, each comprised of eight high school student crew members and two leaders. The pay is $14 an hour, with age requirements starting at 14 years.
“This is a real, paid job,” Beatty explained. “We consider it a first encounter employment opportunity that imparts really important life skills and experience to our youth.”
Partners that are helping to fund three crews for a total of 27 weeks of project work include Plumas, Tahoe, and Lassen National Forest, the National Forest Foundation, National Trail Stewardship, Plumas County, Tahoe Trail Bar, and REI. “We are grateful to everyone that is helping make this happen,” Beatty said.
Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship is a non-profit organization that builds and maintains multi-use trails in the Sierra Buttes, Tahoe, Plumas, and Lassen national forests. Their mission is to build sustainable recreation-based communities through stewardship, job creation and world-class events and provide quality outdoor experiences through trail construction and maintenance in the Lost Sierra.
It is the goal of SBTS to preserve, restore, and enhance trails in the Tahoe, Plumas, and Lassen National Forests in an environmentally sensitive and ecologically responsible fashion. According to sierratrails.org, SBTS exists to “bring a connection between the land and the people who enjoy it by teaching stewardship, restoring historic trail routes and creating new paths through the Lost Sierra.”
The application deadline is Friday, April 23, and an application or more information can be obtained online at Sierra Buttes’ website, by contacting Mandy Beatty via email at [email protected]or by phone at 517-8409.