CHARLESTOWN, Indiana (October 15, 2009) - Governor Mitch Daniels today announced his intention to continue the Young Hoosiers Conservation Corps (YHCC), a program that has used federal stimulus dollars to employ nearly 1,900 young adults to improve Indiana's parks, trails and natural habitats, in 2010.
"This program has performed beyond expectations as witnessed by the acres of restored habitats, miles of new trails and renovated structures across our state," said Daniels. "Programs that target economic distress are exactly what I think Hoosiers expected when the idea of the federal stimulus package was first discussed."
The original program end date was September 30, but was extended to October 16 by Daniels because of its success. The program began May 1 and utilizes federal stimulus funds designated for employment and training of Hoosiers 16 to 24 years old. The jobs pay $8.50 per hour.
Daniels made the announcement at Charlestown State Park, where he thanked several YHCC participants who held customer service positions and also worked on projects including trail clearing and maintenance, grading gravel roads and parking lots, removal of invasive/exotic plant species and fence construction, among others.
Statewide, YHCC employees worked on 750 projects at more than 75 DNR properties. More than 30 miles of new trails were constructed and more than 500 miles of existing trails were upgraded or rehabilitated. YHCC constructed 15 new buildings and renovated or repaired 380 existing buildings. Program participants also rehabilitated or repaired 50 historic buildings, treated or removed 4,700 acres of invasive species, constructed 31 new parking areas and completed 320 other miscellaneous projects. The work was done state parks, reservoirs, recreation areas, state forests, nature preserves and state historic sites.
In addition to continuing the program in 2010 at DNR sites, Daniels is considering expansion of YHCC into urban areas across the state.
The state received approximately $24 million in federal stimulus funds through the Workforce Investment Act to be spent over a two-year period to hire workers for the 91-county program (Marion County funding was separate).
Young Hoosiers Conservation Corps projects that have been completed:
- Morgan-Monroe State Forest - 25 miles of trails have been renovated. Also, a 1930s-era fire tower was painted, fitted with new stairs and landing, and windows and insulation in the property manager's residence were restored and replaced.
- Yellowwood State Forest - a new roof has been put on a shelter house and a much-needed 3,100-square-foot storage building is nearing completion.
- Clifty Falls State Park - construction of two bridges in the style of the 1930s Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) using trees that had been damaged by Hurricane Ike.
- Brown County State Park - repaired stone on CCC picnic shelter, constructed new roof for nature center, installed new lights along nature center walks, stained exteriors of family cabins, painted interiors of three shower houses.
- Indiana Dunes State Park - transplanted marram grass, fenced off dunes to repair damage from erosion and steer traffic along proper trails. The fencing will help restore a delicate ecosystem and protect rare plants.
- Spring Mill State Park - rehabilitation of buildings in the Pioneer Village.
- Pokagon State Park - constructed a new 500-foot wide, 20-foot long retaining wall on Lake James and other erosion controls using 1,200 tons of glacial rock found on property.
- Prophetstown State Park - restored Oak Ridge Bluff by removing non-native and invasive trees and shrubs to re-establish native plant regeneration and began re-harvesting wildflower and grass seed for prairie establishment.
- Trine State Recreation Area - removed a 1,200-square-foot two story building that was no longer in use.
- Tippecanoe River State Park - application of asphalt sealer on the park office parking lot and trimmed seven miles of park roadsides.
- O'Bannon Woods State Park - constructed a mile-long trail for persons with disabilities and constructed a fully enclosed observation blind for watching birds.
- Knobstone Trail - worked on 58 miles of rugged terrain and dense foliage, cleared overgrowth, removed fallen trees, leveled the trail grade, repaired signs and painted fresh trail markers.
A map of Indiana DNR properties that are a part of the Young Hoosiers Conservation Corps program can be found at this address: http://www.in.gov/gov/files/Press/DNR_properties.pdf
More information about YHCC is available here: http://www.in.gov/dnr/yhcc-final.ppt
For updated information regarding Indiana's use of federal stimulus funds, please visit: INvest.in.gov
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