DOINews: Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument Builds and Expands Youth Programs with BLM-NPS Service First Organization

Last edited 09/05/2019

Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument is a Service First Monument, jointly managed by the Bureau of Land Management and National Park Service. Protected within the monument is a variety of biological, geological, cultural and paleontological resources. Layers of rock have been uncovered by the eroding Colorado River and associated tributaries, exposing 2 billion years of geologic history and providing breathtaking vistas. Within the 1-million-plus acres, the elevation and vegetation are diverse, ranging from Joshua trees down in the Mojave Desert at 1,247 feet above sea level up to ponderosa-pine-forested mountain peaks above 8,000 feet. Four designated BLM wilderness areas and 188,121 acres of NPS-proposed wilderness, along with numerous caves and rare desert springs, are listed among the many wonders of the Parashant. The landscape provides numerous learning and working opportunities for youth activities. The Parashant, as a Service First organization, is taking full advantage of these opportunities by leveraging funding, but just as important is leveraging the strengths of each of the agencies.

Tribal elder instructing Southern Paiute youth in making miniature brush huts during Yevingkarere youth camp.

Tribal elder instructs Southern Paiute youth in making miniature brush huts during Yevingkarere youth camp. Photo by NPS.

Youth Engagement

Last year, 2011, marked the fourth year that camps have been held for Southern Paiute youth from tribal bands in Arizona, Utah and Nevada. Each of the past four years, they have gathered near Mount Trumbull to camp and learn about their culture from respected tribal elders. The camp provides youth opportunities to experience natural and cultural resources associated with a portion of traditional homelands on the Parashant. The three-day, two-night event includes camping and activities geared to immerse participants in their traditional practices, ancestral and cultural ties to the land, monument resources and stewardship responsibilities. The 2012 event is well on its way to becoming another successful youth event.

The Color Country Natural Resource Camp is a week-long outdoor experience designed to interest young adults, grades 10-12, in careers in natural resources. Local land management agencies, including BLM, USDA Forest Service, and NPS, partner with Washington County School District to provide hands-on activities, outdoor recreation, and fun instruction from natural resource professionals. Parashant interns assist with conducting the camp which averages 30 participants. BLM Take It Outside and NPS Youth Intern Program funding is used to support camp activities. The Utah Department of Natural Resources and Red Cliffs Desert Reserve also provide six-week field internship assignments for six camp graduates.

Recently, the Parashant BLM manager and NPS superintendent met with the Outward Bound Adventures John Muir High School Engineering and Environmental Science Academy to discuss a three-year partnership to engage urban youth in outdoor science and cultural research. The mission of the Pasadena Unified School District Outward Bound Adventures program is to provide meaningful nature-based education that promotes positive self-development, environmental responsibility, and outdoor-career exposure for urban youth. Managers discussed a 5- to-6 day project that will include 12 diverse, urban high-school students, three leaders, and two scientists from the Oak Crest Institute of Science, an affiliate of California Institute of Technology, which is slated for the first week in August 2012. The project will include a work and educational experience to include vegetation management, the physical sciences, and an opportunity to work alongside tribal youth interns documenting archeological sites and learning about their traditional heritage. NPS funding and staff will be utilized to work with the students on science-based projects and resource-management duties mainly on BLM-managed lands within the monument.

High schools students conducting tree core sampling at the Color Country Natural Resource Camp.High schools students conduct tree core sampling at the Color Country Natural Resource Camp. Photo by BLM.

Youth Employment

The BLM and the NPS partnered in 2010 to begin the Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument American Indian Youth Internship project. With BLM Youth Initiative Program and Challenge Cost-Share dollars and Youth Intern Program funding from the NPS, three Native American youth interns were hired and trained under the supervision of a work-crew leader. They completed projects such as emergency stabilization of historic structures at the Grand Gulch Mine. Last year, the seven-member crew began a historic preservation project on the Pine Ranch. For 2012, The American Indian Youth Internship project began on June 18, with nine field interns and two crew chiefs, in a partnership with Kaibab Paiute Indian Tribe. The field interns will be split into two crews: one continuing historic preservation work at Pine Ranch, the other relocating and rerecording sites at Mount Trumbull. Three additional "office" interns were hired by the tribe: one will work with the Parashant archaeologist working on basic ceramic analysis and museum-display construction, and the other two will work at the Southern Utah University Archaeological Repository with the Curator to learn basic lithic analysis and collections management. The project will last 9-10 weeks

The Parashant is hosting seven youth interns for the 2012 summer season. These interns are affiliated with the Inter-Governmental Internship Cooperative sponsored by Southern Utah University in Cedar City, Utah, and funded through the NPS Youth Partnership Program. The interns are completing a variety of assignments including education and outreach activities, range, recreation, and other resource management projects on BLM- and NPS-managed lands throughout the monument. The Parashant has hosted this internship program for three years.

Several American Conservation Experience youth crews are also working this year, mainly on fencing projects within the monument. Labor costs are primarily funded by NPS and supplies are frequently purchased by BLM. The group conducts projects on both BLM- and NPS-managed lands.

The value of the Parashant BLM/NPS Service First Partnership cannot be overstated. Combining the strengths of the two agencies, and leveraging funding enables the monument to seamlessly plan and execute youth opportunities that would otherwise be either very difficult or impossible to accomplish.

By: Pam McAlpin, Parashant Monument manager, BLM, and Scott Sticha, Parashant chief of Interpretation, NPS

July 13, 2012

Important Links:

BLM-Parashant NM

NPS-Parashant NM

Service First

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