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Mile High Youth Corps diligently clean up Purgatoire river walk

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Trinidad recently received Great Outdoors Colorado’s (GOCO) Stewardship Impact Grant for $286,296 allowing for the cleanup and invasive species management of the Purgatoire River walk running through the city, a three-year project. The grant was a joint effort of the City of Trinidad and Purgatoire River Watershed (PWP).

“The first project on the ground that we’re doing with that funding is to have the Mile High Youth Corps doing the restoration work along the river walk behind Noah’s Ark that people will see,” said Julie Knudson with PWP. “We’ll have the them for eight weeks of work over three years. They’ll be doing on-the-ground invasive species management and riparian restoration work.”

A riparian zone is defined as an area near the banks of a river or body of water. The individuals involved with the Mile High Youth Corps come from a wide range of locations and backgrounds to help wherever the organization sends them says crew leaders Kelsa Mckibben and Savanna Nicoll.

“All of us here are from all over the place,” said Mckibben. “I’m from Montana, Savanna is from Florida, and the others here are all from different places too.”

 “Most of the workers on the ground this time will be a different set of workers next time,” said Nicoll, “although Kelsa and I will probably be back as crew leaders.”

Knudson said the Mile High Youth Corps is a great program through AmeriCorps that allows young adults and youth a chance to gain valuable skills.

“They get natural resource management work experience, but another huge component of the program is the social component,” said Knudson. “It’s youth and young adults that participate in youth corps programs and they’re learning life skills like getting to work on time and working a solid day and different responsibilities while also being taught works skills that will allow them to move on and apply for different jobs.”

The PWP and other partners on the grant will have their next meeting on November 19 to discuss more details about what will be done next, but for now many in town have already voiced that they are happy to see headway being made on getting control of the river. The Chronicle-News will continue to report on this process as progress continues and more information develops.

Increased visibility, removing blockages, noxious weed species among project goals

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