Youth corp helps blaze trail at park

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— Youths participating in a Steamboat Springs program are in the process of moving 325 tons of dirt to construct a trail at Yampa River State Park.

Last week, a group from the Colorado Youth Corp started work on constructing a three-fourths of a mile trail at the new park, which is just west of Hayden.

This week, a new group from the corp is working on the project and is scheduled to complete the work by Thursday.

On Tuesday morning, Daniel Barney, 15, Chelsea Yepello, 16, and Cassandra Vigil, 14, shoveled dirt onto a black fabric that is serving as the foundation of the trail.

"If I'm working, I might as well do something beneficial," said Yepello of Steamboat Springs.

Barney, who is also from Steamboat Springs, agrees.

"This is fun," he said. "But this is hard work."

Yards from the three youths were the rest of the crew, Kevin Medina, 14, and Rob Anderson, 16, who were on their hands and knees fastening the fabric to the ground.

Crews from the Colorado Youth Corp are working on the trail at the new park at the request of Ron DellaCroce, who is the park's manager.

"We are trying to make this experience fun for the kids," DellaCroce said. "We could build the trail mechanically, but they are getting something from this project.

"At the end, they will get to see what they accomplished."

For the youth corp's services, the state park is paying about $4,000 for the work.

The trail is one of the first being built on the 70-acre park.

The five-member crew showed up Monday morning for work and is camping at one of the park's campsites.

"It is interesting to come back after a hard day of work and camp," Barney said.

Overseeing the youths' work is their crew leader, Melanie DeLoach.

"The kids work a seven-hour shift each day," she said. "We usually work until 5 p.m. and then they can swim in the river.

"The kids are also responsible for preparing meals and camp chores."

The corp is for youths between 14 and 16.

"CYC is a job-training program," she said. "They have to submit an application and go through a job interview.

"The kids are hired for two weeks at a time. The first week is spent in Steamboat Springs. The second week is a four-day camping trip where they work during the day on a project."

Once the trail is finished it will be available for hikers, and the park is planning to have it available for the winter months.

"We will groom the trail for cross-country skiing," DellaCroce said.

So far, DellaCroce has been impressed with the youths' work.

"We have a good crew out here," he said. "They work hard and it has been hot.

"This is a great partnership we have with the city."

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