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BLM California News.bytes 
News.bytes Extra, issue 570

American Conservation Experience Crew

People standing under a rock formation

Members of an American Conservation Experience crew built trail, removed trash and did other work to benefit the Eastern Sierra’s natural resources during a 16-day assignment with the Bishop Field Office.

The crew has been completing projects for the BLM in California for nearly a year. Bishop was their final destination.

People removing an abandoned car

The six-person crew spent the first week on the Volcanic Tableland and in the Tungsten Hills near Bishop. They removed trash including large appliances, human waste, and glass and nails from campfire rings. They restored sensitive areas and reinforced the edges of popular campsites with rock and plant material to keep them from expanding and causing further damage to fragile vegetation and archaeological resources. They performed trail maintenance, improving some existing trails and closing and rehabilitating off-road impacts. They placed signs to help reduce future damage.

People carrying an abandoned car

They performed work in two Wilderness Study Areas on the Volcanic Tableland. In the Chidago Canyon WSA, they restored unauthorized vehicle impacts and helped remove an abandoned vehicle, carrying it to a road where it could be hauled out. A short road segment was converted to a trail to reduce impacts to sensitive archeological resources in the Fish Slough WSA. Graffiti was removed from an area with petroglyphs. The crew also had the unfortunate opportunity to witness first-hand the challenges of protecting sensitive archeological resources on public land. In the company of BLM employees, they encountered two individuals illegally looting an archeological site. “The BLM appreciated the crew’s assistance and professionalism during such a disappointing event,” said Kirstin Heins, BLM outdoor recreation planner.      

People cleaning up a trail

The crew spent their second week in the Alabama Hills Special Recreation Management Area. They accomplished additional restoration work as well as their largest project, completing a loop trail to Mobius Arch. The Mobius Arch is a unique geologic feature and a popular destination for hikers and photographers. In 2007, a trail was constructed leading hikers from a parking area to the arch. Plans called for the trail to continue in a loop back to the north east side of the parking area, but construction was never completed. Since then, a series of trails has proliferated past the Mobius Arch from hikers who were trying to loop back to the parking area. This caused damage to vegetation and soil destabilization.  A single trail was constructed from the northeast side of the parking area to the existing trail to complete the loop hike.  Stone steps and switchbacks were constructed in drainage areas. The other trails were rehabilitated.

The finished restoration of the trail

“The BLM employees who worked with the ACE Crew were impressed by the high quality of the crew’s efforts and are grateful to them for the amount of work they accomplished during their time in the Eastern Sierra,” Heins said.

“We would like to invite everyone to visit the Alabama Hills and take a hike on the completed Mobius Arch loop trail.”

Visitors are asked to enjoy and protect  public lands. “Please stay on existing roads, use existing campsites, and remove all your trash when recreating on public land.  Don’t burn wooden pallets; hundreds of nails are left behind and become hazardous trash in popular camp areas. Enjoy the area’s cultural and archeological resources, but leave protected petroglyphs and artifacts as you found them for others to appreciate and discover,” she said.

For more information on the BLM Bishop Field Office visit http://www.blm.gov/ca/st/en/fo/bishop.html

-David Christy, Public Affairs Specialist, BLM Central California (March 2013)

BLM California News.bytes, issue 570 -- To subscribe to News.bytes, send an e-mail to: mailto:Join-Newsbytes@List.ca.blm.gov OR visit our News.bytes subscription page.

Last updated: 03-08-2013