City Parks goes with youth on 3-week Red Rock trail-building effort

       Colorado Springs Parks is making use of a new southern Front Range conservation group at Red Rock Canyon Open Space.
       The Legends and Legacies Youth Corps is on a three-week trail-building assignment at Red Rock that will conclude July 1.
       Covering a seven-county area, the corps was formed through the Colorado Youth Corps Association (CYCA). According to a flyer for Legends and Legacies, the goal is to provide “crew-based employment and training programs for young people ages 16 to 24… based on the Civilian Conservation Corps of the 1930s New Deal days.”
       “Most of them just want to work outdoors or have careers in natural resources,” explained Michele Hanley, executive director of Legends and Legacies.
       The workers are paid. The cost to the city for Legacies' three weeks will be $14,300, according to Aimee Cox of Colorado Springs Parks. She added that her department was part of the task force that created the program.
       “We're very excited to have them out there,” she said. “They're young people with lots of energy, completing lots of trail.”
       Kai Ordahl, a college student majoring in wildlife biology, is one of the workers. “This is awesome,” he said while clearing trail with a McLeod (a sturdy type of rake) this week in 85-degree heat at Red Rock Canyon. “This is the kind of work I want to get into.”
       The crew leader is Gene Bourn, an Army veteran who used to organize teen outdoor work projects out of Fort Carson. He said he is working with City Parks to make sure the trails are laid out properly and in accordance with city standards.
       His crews, numbering about 20 people, put in a roughly quarter-mile trail link the first week. The work this week is creating a portion of trail near some high rocks (“fins”) at the northwest part of the property. The segment will include construction of a rock wall and timber steps, as well as finishing a drainage crossing after the city puts in a 36-inch culvert.
       Cox noted that the work is in addition to improvement efforts at Red Rock this summer by volunteers - including building other hiking trails and the park's “free ride” bicycling area.
       As a result, “when we dedicate the open space July 16, we will be that much farther along with construction,” Cox said.

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