Yellowstone Youth Conservation Corps

Yellowstone Youth Conservation Corps

Now in its 31st year, the Yellowstone Youth Conservation Corps provides an unparalleled opportunity for young adults from communities across the country to live, learn and work in Yellowstone National Park. Yellowstone Forever supporters help fund these important month-long 

Each year Yellowstone Forever’s members and corporate partners help fund the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for 62 teen enrollees and staff to live in the world’s first national park while working on important conservation projects. Without this funding, many of these teens would never have the chance to visit Yellowstone.

A summer in the park

Every winter hundreds of 15-18 year olds apply for approximately 60 spots in the Yellowstone Youth Conservation Corps (YCC). In 2019 alone, more than 700 teens applied! No previous experience in the wilderness is required, but a willingness to learn new skills and work hard is necessary. The accepted teens are split up into two month-long summer sessions.

As a work-based learning program, the primary goal of YCC is to connect youth to Yellowstone through a mix of work projects, education and fun. An average day might include the installation of new bear-proof storage boxes in Yellowstone campgrounds, followed by an educational session with a naturalist, followed by a sunset hike! Alongside the advertised benefits of education and a chance to live in Yellowstone, YCC has an extra perk — or challenge. There’s little to no service in many locations in Yellowstone National Park, and the teens must leave their phones behind. 

Projects with a purpose

Projects completed by the YCC are a mix of important maintenance and restoration projects, and social science projects. These projects are necessary and often would not be completed without the help of the YCC. In 2019 alone, the YCC:

  • Installed 96 bear-proof food storage boxes 
  • Installed 35 trailhead signs
  • Installed 18 new water bars
  • Installed 5 new drains
  • Cleared 40 drains
  • Installed 67 check dams
  • Peeled 6 logs
  • Brushed 13,382 yards of trail (7.6 miles)
  • Rehabilitated 18 social trails
  • Installed 80 gargoyle rocks to define trails
  • Installed and painted 101 yards of post and rail fence along campground trail
  • Surveyed visitor use patterns for 30 days
  • Collected data at trailheads
  • Distributed GPS units to hikers to better understand trail usages.  

How your support helps

YCC is an opportunity to inspire the next generation of conservation leaders. These young people may have never had the opportunity to learn and work in Yellowstone if it weren’t for the funding provided by Yellowstone Forever’s generous donors. Your support helps ensure that young people are able to continue working, learning and growing in Yellowstone.

Support the Youth Conservation Corps