Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) Program

A group of teens and adults poses in rows in front of trees and a small brown cabin.
2023 YCC Session 2 staff and youth

NPS/Jacob W Frank

two people level a sign post
YCC Alpha Crew 2021 Grizzly Lake Trailhead sign install

Yellowstone is offering its Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) program for the 36th consecutive summer in 2024—a month-long program for young people between 15 and 18 years of age. Participants must be a US citizen or permanent resident of the United States or its territories, as well as possess a valid US Social Security number.

The YCC experience allows teen enrollees and staff the opportunity to learn, work, and recreate in Yellowstone National Park. The program is challenging, educational, fun, and offers participants opportunities to expand their horizons while building skills that will benefit them for a lifetime. No previous wilderness experience is required, but a willingness and ability to work in a physically active outdoor program, get along well with others, and maintain a positive attitude are essential for success.

In 2023, a very successful and safe YCC program hosted two sessions with 4 crews each and included 44 teens from across the United States. YCC crews camp in various frontcountry and backcountry locations 4 nights per week near the work sites. On weekends, crews return to the YCC facility to shower, do laundry, participate in recreational activities, and resupply.

Teen enrollees are randomly selected from across the country to participate in this summer program. Enrollees work 40 hours a week and receive $10.50/hour with a small charge for food (~$3/day). Healthy food options are prepared by staff and youth while camping or provided by the YCC Cook. While this diet might be different than what youth are used to, the goal is to provide highly nutritious, healthy meals to sustain them during a work-based learning program. YCC participants work in a variety of weather and terrain conditions while completing projects which may include: fence and bench building; trail maintenance; installing "bear boxes" and trailhead signs (see film clips below); general maintenance work; painting/staining; non-native plant control; and collecting data for community science projects and for visitor use management.

Young adults holding earth moving hand tools stand in front of a travertine terrace.
A 2023 YCC crew poses after a day of working on a trail near Mammoth Hot Springs.


Each week, enrollees spend time participating in resource education, recreation, and NPS career development sessions. Many of these activities are scheduled in the evenings and on weekends. Activities may include: hiking, rafting, fishing, ranger-led programs, guest speakers, enrollee and staff presentations, and trips throughout the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.

Yellowstone's YCC Program is supported by generous donations to Yellowstone Forever, through park entrance fees, and other government grant programs.


2024 Applications

The Summer 2024 YCC program will operate two sessions: June 9–July 10 and July 14– August 13.

The 2024 application period is now closed.

Enrollee selections will be made using a random method. The National Park Service is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Applicants will be e-mailed of their status by April 3rd, 2024.

Yellowstone YCC Curriculum

The Yellowstone YCC Curriculum can be viewed online. In 2013, a University of Wyoming graduate student assisted the YCC program by developing a full YCC Curriculum. Five themes are examined including Ecological Relationships, Cultural Heritage, Stewardship, Sustainability, and Leadership.

Watch the Yellowstone YCC video and the new Learn Your Park video featuring images of Yellowstone's Youth Conservation Corps and Expedition Yellowstone students.
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1 minute, 8 seconds

In the park’s earlier years, bears fed on garbage behind hotels and on visitor snacks along roadways—averaging 48 bear-inflicted human injuries each year from 1931 to 1969. In 1970, the park implemented a new bear management program to restore bears to a diet of natural foods. Human injuries dropped dramatically, as did the need to kill bears. Today, “bear boxes” are a primary tool of Yellowstone’s Grizzly Bear Conservation Program. In 2021, we are at 61% of our goal of 1,907—one for each roadside campsite.

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1 minute, 13 seconds

To improve visitor experience and safety, Yellowstone Youth Conservation Corps crews are replacing outdated trailhead exhibits with new, matching ones. Designed in-house and fabricated with funding from Yellowstone Forever, all 96 trailheads should have new signs by the end of 2022.

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1 minute, 12 seconds

Yellowstone Youth Conservation Corps crews catch dragonfly larvae to test for mercury levels in the environment.

Last updated: April 5, 2024

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PO Box 168
Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190-0168



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