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Cody Field Office
Release Date: 06/24/14
Contacts: Sarah Beckwith    

Youth Group Learns Life Lessons While Improving Public Lands

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Cody Field Office and the Casper-based Conservation Outdoor Recreation Education (CORE) youth group recently worked together to improve public lands in Oregon Basin south of Cody and at the Five Springs Falls Campground east of Lovell.

Eleven young people and their adult leaders joined BLM employees in a scenic cove in Oregon Basin to clean up tremendous amounts of trash left behind by partiers, or “gallivanting, rapscallion hooligans,” as they were described by one young CORE member. Kids armed with magnets filled a bucket with nails—remnants of countless pallets burned in the cove—while others picked glass from broken beer bottles off of ledges. The energetic group removed approximately 900 pounds of trash in just a few hours.

BLM Outdoor Recreation Planner Paul Rau has worked with CORE for several years and thinks highly of the group and its leader, Victor Orr, who is the violence prevention coordinator for the Self Help Center of Casper. “I’m so glad to see kids taking advantage of Vic’s program,” said Rau. “He’s helping them make real changes in their lives.”

This is true for Amber Bennett, 14, who says camping and working outdoors are her passion. “I’m gaining important skills and learning respect for myself and my surroundings,” said Bennett, who is beginning her sixth summer with CORE. “Some of these kids have been through a lot, have gotten into trouble,” she added. “CORE gives them a chance to cool off. It gives them a second chance.”

The Five Springs Falls Campground, 22 miles east of Lovell off U.S. Hwy. 14A, was the CORE group’s home base for the week. Here, they replaced deteriorating parking bollards and removed trash, ending their days with s’mores by the campfire.

In addition to the work projects, an educational component was incorporated into the week. BLM archaeologist Kierson Crume led a lively discussion about archaeology and the cultural and historical resources of Oregon Basin. CORE kids even had the opportunity to use an atlatl—an ancient device made of bone, wood or antler that was used to throw a weapon or hunting projectile far and with accuracy.

This is CORE’s 15th year. Orr and the adult leaders who accompany the group cultivate an environment where youth can learn respect for all people and how to work together as a team. The participants are from Casper and many of them come from disadvantaged homes.

“CORE provides these kids with experiences they wouldn’t normally have,” said Orr. “Many of them have never been in the mountains and have never camped.”

Orr has led several outings like this each summer since CORE’s inception. The groups do volunteer projects for the BLM, U.S. Forest Service and National Park Service, including an annual trip to Yellowstone National Park.

For more information contact Paul Rau at 307-578-5900 or

Click on picture for full size images suitable for printing (all photos courtesy of the BLM).

CORE group works in Oregon Basin.

CORE group cleans up a campfire.

CORE group and BLM staff.

CORE participant throws atlatl.

Members of the CORE group and the BLM clean up a party site in Oregon Basin.CORE members remove trash left behind from bonfires.The CORE kids, their adult leaders and BLM staff pose for a photo in the Oregon Basin cove they just cleaned up.Core member Amber Bennett tries her hand at using an atlatl.

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM's mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. In Fiscal Year 2015, the BLM generated $4.1 billion in receipts from activities occurring on public lands.

Cody Field Office   1002 Blackburn Street      Cody, WY 82414   

Last updated: 06-24-2014