MORRILTON — Eleven young adults, ages 18 to 24, are currently working in Petit Jean State Park as members of AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC), whose predecessors, the Civilian Conservation Corps, were involved in the early development of the park from 1933 to 1938.
Work began Nov. 12 and will continue through Dec. 17, corps members will be working alongside park rangers to clear 12 miles of fire line in preparation for a prescribed burn this upcoming winter, helping prepare the boundaries of the man made fire. A prescribed burn is a controlled fire intended to clear out brush that could fuel a potentially disastrous wildfire in the future. In August of 2000, such a wildfire swept through Petit Jean, burning 864 of the park’s 3,471 acres.
Members of AmeriCorps NCCC are excited to be camping on site and taking part in this important work to reduce the risk of similar events.
"We’re excited to be here," said team leader Josh Ernst. "All of the staff at Petit Jean have been incredibly welcoming. The work we are doing is both exciting and necessary."