Hard-Working Corps

A reimagined Acadia Youth Conservation Corps gives participants diverse experience working alongside multiple divisions of the park.

Acadia Youth Conversation Corps (AYCC) members Elijah Pressman (front) and Matt Egelberg carry a piece of bog walk through the Duck Harbor Trail. (Photo by Sam Mallon/Friends of Acadia)


The Acadia Youth Conservation Corps (AYCC) accomplished a great deal this summer—from replacing 250 feet of bogwalk on the Giant Slide Trail and collecting garbage from 100 yards of beachfront on Isle au Haut, to painting carriage road gates, clearing backdrains, and pulling invasive glossy buckthorn at Kebo Brook Trail and Great Meadow.

It’s tough but vital trail work, and the AYCC plays a key role in maintaining Acadia National Park’s historic trails and carriage roads.

Friends of Acadia has supported AYCC for years, but the program took a hiatus the last two summers due to the COVID pandemic. During that period, park staff and Friends of Acadia used the time to reimagine the program to give participants more diverse experiences with broader educational opportunities and exposure to other park programs.

In addition, new National Park Service positions were created to lead it: Erica Lobel was hired as this year’s AYCC Coordinator, along with AYCC Crew Leaders Christina Stroup and Shelby Bentley.

Acadia National Park Vegetation Program Manager Jesse Wheeler shows members of the Acadia Youth Conservation Corps how to identify glossy buckthorn. (Photo by Sam Mallon/Friends of Acadia)

This summer, the program welcomed seven participants ranging in age from 15 to 18. They spent their first two weeks on the west ridge of Beech Mountain building 65 “checks,” which help prevent the trail from eroding. The project involved digging ditches, moving and placing logs, and
crushing rocks by hand.

“Probably the hardest day was when we brought 17 six-foot logs up a slope, about 500 feet of elevation over 0.3 miles,” said Lobel during the AYCC Family and Friends Day in August.

“We were hot, and it was hard, but they carried the logs the whole way through. We kept each other entertained. I’m just so impressed with that and all the other projects.”

The 2022 Acadia Youth Conservation Corps poses for an end-of-season photograph in August. (Photo by Sam Mallon/Friends of Acadia)

The Corps’ work extended well beyond trail maintenance and included working alongside the vegetation crew to replant 75 plants at Waterfall Bridge and water two revegetation sites. They cleared leaves from natural creek beds—helping to prevent flooding—at the Wild Gardens of Acadia, and collected visitor-use data on the Eagle Lake and Witch Hole carriage roads. They painted tripods and assisted Summit Stewards with visitor engagement and rebuilding of Bates cairns. In their off time, this tireless crew even helped unload trucks at the grocery store on Isle au Haut.

“They got all over the park, every different division,” said Lobel. And they did it all with an openness to learning new things and a fun attitude, she added. Not only will their hard work benefit the park for years to come, but their experience this summer will help each participant continue to be a steward of public land for a lifetime.

SHANNON BRYAN is Friends of Acadia’s Content and Website Manager.

A Life-Changing Summer Job in Acadia

The Acadia Youth Conservation Corps employs high school students for eight weeks each summer for a diverse experience working alongside multiple divisions of the park.

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