The McGee Creek Project, located in southeastern Oklahoma, includes a 10,000 acre land tract known as the natural scenic recreation area (NSRA). The NSRA was set aside by legislation to protect the unique features of the area, and to provide a wilderness-type experience for its users. Its size, rugged character, and relative isolation make it well suited for recreational opportunities such as: backpacking, nature study, bird watching, hiking, equestrian trail riding, camping and mountain biking. The NSRA includes approximately 48 miles of multipurpose trails and various primitive campsites.
The trails were originally old logging roads that predate the project, and were not built to be a safe sustainable trail system. Many areas of the trail system were severely eroded and in need of repairs. The Oklahoma-Texas Area Office (OTAO) contracted with the American YouthWorks' Environmental Corps (AYW) to assess the trail system, develop a written trail management plan, and to begin implementing the plan upon Reclamation approval. The goals of the project were to inventory the trails, create accurate trail maps, upgrade the existing trail system to prevent soil erosion, protect sensitive areas, and to create a safer and more enjoyable experience for the trail users.
American YouthWorks Environmental Corps is a "green jobs" training and service program which allows young adults to build and restore the natural environment through parks and trails projects, forestry, and habitat restoration throughout Texas. American YouthWorks has been watching for opportunities to expand their service area into Oklahoma and will use this project to highlight their capabilities to other agencies in the State. For more information visit www.americanyouthworks.org
AYW typically operates using an eight man crew, which includes two crew leaders, and they work in 10-12 day work "spikes." The crew provides all the transportation, tools, camping supplies, food, insurance and training necessary to complete the required work.
To date, AYW has: - Assessed the 48 miles of trail system using the U.S. Forest Service's Trail Management Guidelines - Developed a written trail management plan - Developed a comprehensive GIS package including: Trail maps, GPS locations of all problem areas, pictures, key features and suggested re-routes - Re-routed approximately two miles of trails to make them more sustainable - Built approximately 3 miles of connecting trails to improve access and make the trails more user friendly
Currently, the AYW has returned with 13 members to the McGee Creek NSRA and is working on trimming the trees and correcting problem areas on approximately 10 miles of existing trails. The AYW started this spike on August 5, 2013 and will be at the NSRA until August 15. OTAO is in the process of modifying the existing contract to add four (4) more work spikes to continue work on the trail system.
Released: August 08, 2013