Working with California State Parks

Sarah Gadomski stencils "DPR" (Department of Parks and Recreation) on tables in a building in Russian Gulch State Park near Mendocino, CA. California State Parks recently acquired multiple tables and chairs and assigned us to "brand" them using black paint.

Unopened boxes of tables and chairs purchased by Cal State Parks.

Alyssa Pun stencils "DPR" on a number of chairs.


In another assignment from Cal State Parks, NCCC Corps Members repaired old fencing in Van Damme State Park, just south of Mendocino, CA. The fencing was installed around campsites in the state parks and by the park's entrance in the 1940s and 1950s. The wood used was from old growth redwoods that were cut down earlier in the century. The fences had deteriorated over time and to repair them, we used other old growth redwoods posts that had been sitting around since the mid 1900s. The wood is naturally resilient to weathering, making it a choice wood for fencing.

NCCC Corps Members continue to repair redwood fencing in Van Damme State Park.

Ice Plant

During our first week working with California State Parks, we were charged with removing ice plant from the coastal areas of Glass Beach. A native from South Africa, ice plant was brought to the California coast around 1900 to stabilize soil along railroad tracks and for general erosion control. An aggressive invasive, ice plant competes with endangered northern California flora. Here, NCCC Corps Members pull the plant and toss it on a tarp to be removed.

Ice plant | Carpobrotus edulis

Alyssa Pun removes ice plant from the Glass Beach coast near Fort Bragg, CA.

Fort Bragg and the North Coast

Michael Green stands by the rugged Russian Gulch State Park coast at dusk near Mendocino, CA.

NCCC Corps Members were given a splendid work location this third round of service. Team Blue Four will be spending the next eight weeks in Fort Bragg working with the California State Parks District Office in Russian Gulch and with the Noyo Food Forest

Waiting to Leave

May Duong lies down alongside the team's packed bags, waiting until our departure from the historic Maud Williamson House just north of Salem, OR. This is our second-to-last day of our NCCC Round 1 working with the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department.

More Corps Members sit and wait on our last day at our spike housing location.

The Maud Williamson house, our project housing for 1.5 months near Salem.

Christmas Trees Gone Wild

Having been USDA Forest Service Class A Sawyer certified, we were able to remove an old, overgrown Christmas tree farm in Silver Falls State Park, Oregon. The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department supplied us with chainsaws and maintenance tools for the job. Oregon is the United State's no. 1 Christmas tree producing state, and in the case of Silver Falls, some of its recently acquired land includes former tree farms.

Sarah Gadomski, Michael Green and Amber Anderson removes fallen Christmas Trees from the area into larger piles to later be removed.

Taylor Burback cuts down a Christmas Tree. We were able to take some back to our temporary residence of the Maud Williamson House.

While at Silver Falls State Park, we took some time to explore the falls that the park is famous for, including the South Falls here, a 93-foot cascade. All waterfalls in the park spill over 15-million-year-old Columbia River basalt.

The Eradication of Sanity

NCCC Team Blue 4 wields weed wrenches used to remove the invasive Scotch Broom at Milo McIver State Park.

The difficulty with removing invasive species is that you never seem to remove everything. It's because of this notion that the work, while physical in nature, is more mentally taxing than anything. Exotic species removal may set the invasion back a few years, but it's really just a small dent in the amount of work that really needs to be done. Why spend long 10-hour days removing a plant when, at the end of the week, there are endless fields of it still in sight? You are told that every bit helps, that persistence in the manual removal of the plant adds up in the long-run. But that's only if crews are continuously sent in to remove it. That, unfortunately, does not happen. Grants to organizations that support crews like ours are sparse and quickly run out of money. It could be years before the next crew is sent in, as evidenced by the 10+ year-old Scotch Broom we were removing. Scotch Broom wasn't eradicated during our time at Milo McIver State Park, and who knows if it ever will be?

NCCC Corps Members exit the government van to begin work at Milo McIver State Park.

The team enters the morning fog.

Corps Member Carolyn Stevens uses a weed wrench to remove a several-year-old Scotch Broom plant. Removing the roots is key to prevent the plant's regrowth.

Scotch Broom is piled up to later be removed.

An Introduction to Scotch Broom

Scotch Broom (Cytisus scoparious) is a perennial shrub native to western and central Europe and is a noxious species in the Willamette Valley of Oregon. Reminiscent of the dreaded hitches of the Nevada Conservation Corps where we pulled the invasive Brassica, or Sahara mustard, most of the time our NCCC team spent working with the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department was spent removing Scotch Broom. Our first taste of this invasive was at a Willamette River tributary, the Luckiamute River.

Scotch Broom was removed from the landscape and placed into a trailer to later be burned.

The NCCC team takes lunch by the Luckiamute River.

Sydney Lawson handles a snake found on the rocks by the river.

Luckiamute Restoration

NCCC Corps Member Sarah Gadomski installs a native plant at a Luckiamute paddler's access point. The Luckiamute River is a tributary to the Willamette River located within the western Willamette Valley. Under heavy fog, the team planted natives in designated locations governed by the park ranger of the state natural area.

Taylor Burback and Michael Green install plants alongside a road at the Luckiamute State Natural Area.

More plant installation.

Willamette Mission Restoration

AmeriCorps NCCC Team Blue 4 at Willamette Mission State Park.

The team at Willamette Mission State Park.

Dog wood and willow stakes are harvested at Willamette Mission State Park to install in a restoration area. These cuttings will take root and eventually propagate throughout the former farmland.