This past June, a crew of teens from the Conservation Corps Minnesota & Iowa completed work along the Big Aspen ATV Trail in the Superior National Forest. The trail, located in northern Minnesota, traverses 20 miles of rolling trails through a large pine and hardwood forest. Several scenic vistas make the Big Aspen ATV Trail an especially popular destination.

Thanks to the support of Polaris Industries Inc. and the National Forest Foundation, young people from across Minnesota were able to contribute their efforts towards a longer-term project of reducing trail erosion and improving visitor experience. The Conservation Corps crew consisted of five high school students and two adult leaders. The crew completed nearly three miles of rehab work that included brush removal, erosion control, and signage. The work was successfully completed under the guidance of U.S. Forest Service staff.

This project represented a true win-win. The Forest Service completed important work to improve visitor experience on heavily used trail. Young crew members had the opportunity to engage in hands-on environmental service-learning. When asked about the two best things about their experience, one young crew member responded, “working on trails and seeing those trails used.” This statement really sums up the personal growth of the individual and benefit provided to the natural resource that experience such as this one provide.

National Forest Foundation