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Colorado projects teaches new skills to young adults in partnership with Colorado State Parks and Jefferson County Workforce Development Center.

arrow From the Fall 2009 issue of American Trails Magazine


Training partnership leverages Department of Labor funding

We recently created a new job skills training program that may be of interest to trails advocates. The Jefferson County Workforce Development Center, a program of the Colorado State Department of Labor & Employment, joined forces with Colorado State Parks and Chinook Associates to develop the skills training. This pilot program employed 10 young adults ages 18-25. Four different workshops were established.

photo of trail worker

Peeling logs is the first step in backcountry construction


Carpentry Workshop: Basic structural elements associated with lumber framing were reviewed. Individuals participated in the construction of a deck that was a part of the cabin where the classroom activities were conducted.

Campground Management Workshop: Curriculum included an overview of campground management. Students participated in the renovation of a campground that included the construction and maintenance of: elevated tent pads, timber steps and trails, fencing, wildlife-friendly trash cans, and entrance station signage.

Wildland Fire Defensible Space Workshop: An introduction to wildland fire defensible space development and management around a structure started the workshop. Participants created a defensible space around a cabin; training included the identification and removal of fire fuels around a structure.

Forest Insect and Disease Workshop: Common forest insects and diseases were reviewed. Students learned to identify and manage timber infected with Mountain Pine Beetle and Dwarf Mistletoe.


photo of people with horses

Classroom instruction is an essential part of the training program

Each workshop also included time and material estimating techniques; appropriate tool use; worksite safety; and risk management. The training covered a two-month period and was typically 30-40 hours per week. The Workforce Development Center provided funding from the Workforce Investment Act. They managed the recruitment of the students and met with them onsite to monitor progress towards learning objectives. Golden Gate Canyon State Park provided the site for the training and supported the workshops with staff and equipment.

Chinook Associates completed the design work associated with the projects and developed and delivered the training curriculum, providing daily worksite supervision. Students received training and developed skills that will increase their employment opportunities. Golden Gate Canyon State Park was able to complete deferred maintenance resulting in improved visitor experiences.

Trail construction and maintenance work would certainly be appropriate for this type of training. This pilot program is being considered for continuation in 2010 and possibly expansion to additional State Parks throughout Colorado. Because it is difficult to find funding for training, this partnership was especially valuable in leveraging resources to benefit students as well as the agencies.


Visit for more about the training program or call Kim Frederick at (303) 718-0829 or email The article was published in the American Trails Magazine Fall 2009 issue at

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