CCC Backcountry Trails Program Receives Merit Award

A Backcountry Corpsmember based in Trinity uses a crosscut saw

Santa Maria Corpsmember Rosa Perez, working on the Shasta-Trinity Backcountry Trails crew, uses a crosscut saw.

Every summer, CCC Corpsmembers head into California’s wilderness areas. For five months, they life off-grid in the backcountry while constructing and maintaining recreational trails for the public to enjoy.

Crews don’t do this work for recognition. In fact, Corpsmembers don’t even bring phones into their remote project sites. However, the impact of this transformative program speaks for itself.

On May 1, CCC’s Backcountry Trails Program was honored to receive the 2024 California Trails and Greenways Program Merit Award which recognizes efforts to promote, enhance, and expand public awareness and use of California’s trails and greenways. Since its inception in 1979, CCC’s Backcountry Program has made quite the impact, and this past season was no different. In 2023, 90 Corpsmembers worked together to:

  • Construct 21,802 feet of new trail
  • Maintain 186.55 miles of existing trail
  • Install 3,417.5 square feet of multi-tier rock wall
  • Install 220.8 linear yards of single-tier rock wall
  • Create 97 linear yards of causeway
  • Place 29 water bars
  • Six linear yards of riprap
  • Put in 183 retainers
  • Rehabilitate 5,017 linear yards of trail
  • Cut out 71 logs
ccc staffer accepting award at event

Wilderness & Watershed Restoration District Director Karlson Hubbard accepts the 2024 California Trails and Greenways Program Merit Award.

These outcomes are even more impressive, given the fact that some Corpsmembers in the program had never hiked or camped before – let alone worked on trails. CCC’s Backcountry Program places a high emphasis on developing young adults of all backgrounds to be knowledgeable and capable trail workers. No prior experience is needed to join.

With the support of staff and project sponsors, CCC Backcountry Program participants received training and one-on-one mentorship, and participated in daily classes after work. On average, 95-percent of Corpsmembers reported significant improvements in both knowledge and skills related to project work.

corpsmembers use rock bars to move giant rocks

Three Corpsmembers on the Inyo Backcountry Trails crew use rock bars to move rocks around in Inyo National Forest. 

As the season ended, Corpsmembers returned from the wilderness with the skills and mindset needed to tackle conservation challenges. Many of the young adults continue to engage in public service through trails and other environmental careers.

The CCC thanks the California Trails & Greenways Awards Committee for recognizing the value of CCC’s Backcountry Program. We look forward to the start of the next season and the continuation of this important work.