Performing hard labor in a forest isn't exactly what most high school students expect to do for a summer job, but that is exactly what seven Tulalip teens signed up for in early August. The Tulalip forestry crew took part in a two-day stewardship project to maintain the Big Four Ice Caves Trail to ADA accessibility standards on the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest <http://www.fs.usda.gov/mbs> .
Students removed excess branches, and pulled weeds and vegetation from either side of the trail. They cleared away drainage areas from avalanche debris by rolling logs down a hill.
Some of the students had previous experience with forestry work accomplished on the Tulalip Reservation. This was the first visit to the national forest for student Moy Flores. "I like working out in nature, it beats the office," he said. Flores added that cutting down weeds with a weed whip was the highlight of his day.
It wasn't all work though. After lunch on the first day a Forest Service ranger led the group to the ice caves, explaining the history of the area and describing how snow piles up below the Big Four Mountain to create the caves.
"I try to get these kids out to experience more," said Jason Gobin, Tulalip forestry manager.
The Tulalip Tribes provides summer jobs to teens between the ages of 14-18 to gain experience in career fields ranging from hotel resort management, office administration and housing to natural resource stewardship. The students work 180 hours and receive volunteer credits for high school graduation.