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Front Page » May 15, 2012 » Carbon County News » Chainsaws chew at invasive trees on Gordon Creek
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Chainsaws chew at invasive trees on Gordon Creek


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By JOHN SERFUSTINI
Sun Advocate associate editor

Beneath the old railroad trestle spanning Gordon Creek west of Price, a hiker can hear the distant buzz of chain saws at work. The sound gets louder moving downstream. There are also signs along the trail of what the chain saws have been doing. Piles of logs and branches about the size and shape of a Volkswagen Bug line the banks.

These are the remains of Russian Olive and tamarisk trees being cleared out by the Canyon Country Youth Corps. The good thing about these nuisance trees is that they provide the fuel for their own funeral pyres. The Bureau of Land Management will come by in the late fall or early winter and torch them.

The drone of the saws fades to silence as the workers - a half-dozen men and women ranging from teens to early 20s - sit down in the dirt by the banks of the stream for a break and a snack. . It's about 10 a.m. They began their day shortly after dawn with breakfast at their camp about a mile away. Then they hiked down to the work site.

"They work eight 10-hour days and get six days off," says Josh Sherrock, a field coordinator with the Four Corners School of Outdoor Education in Monticello. The school is the agency that places young AmeriCorps-Vista workers into outdoor construction and environmental projects for state and federal governments.

This particular project is part of the wide-ranging Price River Watershed Enhancement Project led by the Bureau of Land Management. Project manager Stepahnie Bauer says the work along this stretch of Gordon Creek will restore the riparian environment to its native state. That means the invasive Russian Olive and tamarisk trees have got to go.

The project has lots of backers, an alphabet soup of agencies: BLM, USU, EPA, DWR, DNR, USFS, Carbon and Emery Counties and cities along the Price River.

But it is the Canyon Country Youth Corps that makes it happen along Gordon Creek.

The young people come from all over the country. Sherrock says for some who have grown up in urban settings, living in tents and eating outdoors for days on end is unlike anything they've experienced. "It's quite the change of pace," agrees Jocie Collins, a worker who hails from Richmond, VA.

This cutting and stacking of trees is part of the bigger picture for the CCYC, Sherrock explains. The goal of is to improve work readiness, employment prospects, and economic independence for youth. Leaders also teach them while also teaching them healthy lifestyles and respect for natural resources. That includes lessons in the field about such subjects as geology and environmental science.

Sherrock says they also learn skills that are common to all forms of work, such as teamwork, conflict resolution, self-reliance and self-confidence.

The work projects include habitat restoration, fuels reduction, fence construction and trails maintenance.

Job-specific training for this project includes chainsaw operation and maintenance, tree-cutting techniques and safety, and the art and science of stacking wood compactly so it will burn better.

It may also teach the art of pacing through a 10-hour day of hard labor, especially given that it is an uphill hike back to camp and dinner.

will restore the riparian environment to its native state. That means the invasive Russian Olive and tamarisk trees have got to go.

The project has lots of backers, an alphabet soup of agencies: BLM, USU, EPA, DWR, DNR, USFS, Carbon and Emery Counties and cities along the Price River.

But it is the Canyon Country Youth Corps that makes it happen along Gordon Creek.

The young people come from all over the country. Sherrock says for some who have grown up in urban settings, living in tents and eating outdoors for days on end is unlike anything they've experienced. "It's quite the change of pace," agrees Jocie Collins, a worker who hails from Richmond, Va.

This cutting and stacking of trees is part of the bigger picture for the CCYC, Sherrock explains. The goal of is to improve work readiness, employment prospects, and economic independence for youth. Leaders also teach healthy lifestyles and respect for natural resources. That includes lessons in the field about such subjects as geology and environmental science.

Sherrock says they also learn skills that are common to all forms of work, such as teamwork, conflict resolution, self-reliance and self-confidence.

The work projects include habitat restoration, fuels reduction, fence construction and trails maintenance.

Job-specific training for this project includes chainsaw operation and maintenance, tree-cutting techniques and safety, and the art and science of stacking wood compactly so it will burn better.

It may also teach the art of pacing through a 10-hour day of hard labor, especially given that it is an uphill hike back to camp and dinner.

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