Skip to Content

Youth Conservation Program in Grand Teton marks 15 years

YCP Crew, Grand Teton National Park 2019
YCP Crew, Grand Teton National Park 2019

MOOSE, Wyo. (KIFI) — Grand Teton National Park Foundation and Grand Teton National Park are celebrating the fifteenth anniversary of the Youth Conservation Program (YCP).

YCP was launched in 2006 to steward the next generation of conservation leaders—aligning with the core mission of the National Park Service to foster a land ethic and an appreciation for the outdoors in young people.

This powerful and immersive program employs sixteen to nineteen-year-olds on Grand Teton’s trail crew, accomplishing critical stewardship projects while also cultivating job skills and supporting aspiring leaders as they make career and lifestyle decisions. Over the years, YCP has grown in both size and impact, regularly employing twenty to twenty-four young people a season during a typical year.

“YCP has been transformative for the nearly 300 participants who have had the opportunity to work and learn during ten weeks on the trails in the park,” Grand Teton National Park Foundation President Leslie Mattson said. “We are proud of this program and look forward to continuing to provide private philanthropic support to ensure it continues to provide life-changing opportunities for young people for years to come.” Grand Teton National Park Foundation has raised more than $2.5 million in support of YCP since its inception in 2006.

This year’s YCP crew started in mid-June with eleven participants who are eager to spend their summer working and learning in the park (the group size was reduced this season due to ongoing safety measures related to COVID-19). Projects planned for this summer include bridge and drystone step reconstruction on the Taggart Lake Trail, cleaning debris from a large avalanche in Granite Canyon, and trail repairs in the Death Canyon area. The participants will also learn about a variety of career opportunities with the National Park Service.

Grand Teton National Park Superintendent Chip Jenkins said, “The YCP program is a very powerful program that creates life-long impacts for participants, as well as public land conservation.” Jenkins says that his inspiration to work for the National Park Service was sparked when he was young and participated in a similar program.

Grand Teton National Park Foundation created a video to celebrate this significant milestone of a decade and a half of impact through the program. Nine young adults who participated in YCP during the last fifteen years shared their experiences and how it has affected their lives. Whether they participated in 2005 or 2019, there is a powerful, common theme of a memorable summer that inspired each one of them in a variety of ways. Stories like these demonstrate the lasting impact on the education, employment, and lifestyle choices of young people after spending an immersive summer in Grand Teton. Today and tomorrow, this program is creating the conservation leaders of the future.

Due to ongoing safety considerations associated with COVID-19, YCP did not take place in 2020.

Article Topic Follows: Wyoming

Jump to comments ↓

Author Profile Photo

News Team


KIFI Local News 8 is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content