YEP crews busy improving Anchorage parks and trails

Updated: Jun. 21, 2021 at 6:17 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - A program that gets young people outdoors to work on city trails and parks is in full swing in Anchorage.

On Monday, members of the Youth Employment in Parks Program, called YEP, could be found at Far North Bicentennial Park putting a thick layer of new gravel over a section of the Tour of Anchorage Trail that runs near the Campbell Creek Science Center.

The YEP Program is run by the Municipality of Anchorage and is now in its 15th year. Teens age 16-19 are hired to work on city trails and parks. Program Coordinator Brad Muir said for many, it’s their very first job.

“We get anywhere from basically 100 to 160 applicants each year and we interview every single one of them just to give them that first job experience,” he said. “And then we hire 25 youth every year.”

Muir said the work goes on, rain or shine.

“In our interview we definitely ask about being in the outdoors, getting dirty, dealing with bugs, hard work, (and) teamwork, you know,” he said.

For 17-year-old Isabel Marshall, the hard work is welcome. Marshall said she enjoys being active, particularly now.

“I mean we just had COVID, where we were sitting in front of screens for a whole year,” Marshall said. “And this is really nice to be able to go outside and actually be making money while out in the great Alaska wilderness.”

YEP crew members will continue to work on trail improvements near the science center for about two weeks. Next year the project will continue to replace several bridges over Campbell Creek in the same area. Marshall said it felt good to be part of a team that’s caring for public lands.

“It’s just really cool to just be working with people who are my age and who are actually determined to make Anchorage a more wonderful place,” she said.

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