West Slope youth corps to share in funding

The Western Colorado Conservation Corps has received a grant for more than $111,000 to help fund cleanup and trail construction projects in the region.

The WCCC, a program of Mesa County Partners, is among five youth organizations in Colorado that will receive AmeriCorps grants. The Colorado Youth Corps Association received $1.55 million to support programs across the state.

In Western Colorado, WCCC crews will cut and apply herbicide to invasive species in river corridors on state and federal lands between April and November. Crews also plan to build a single-track bicycle track parallel to the concrete path connecting the Riverfront Trail in Fruita to the Kokopelli trailhead. In addition, crews will work in the Colorado National Monument on road and trail maintenance and weed removal.

Statewide, programs are expected to treat a total of more than 1,500 acres of public lands, construct and maintain 356 miles of trails and weatherize and retrofit more than 1,500 housing units to improve energy and water efficiency.

Youth corps programs are designed to offer participants job and life skills training. Participants also earn AmeriCorps awards that can be used to pay for additional education. The WCCC offers training and employment opportunities to at-risk and low-income youth and young adults.