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California Conservation Corps Gives Torrey Pines Trail a Makeover After Rain Erosion

Corpsmembers tackle physically challenging work with their motto: "Hard work, low pay, miserable conditions and more!"

A Torrey Pines State Reserve trail is getting a concrete makeover just in time for summer.

Members of the California Conservation Corps are working to make the trail “literally rock solid," said Dana Howard, the group's Communications Director.

California Conservation Corps is fixing the Broken Hill trail after last winter's record rainfall made a significant dent in it.

Each year, the group hires dozens of young people to fix trails, create dams to control future erosion and carve out eroded paths throughout the entire trail.

"The trails don’t just appear out of magic," Howard told NBC 7. "They come out of the hard work the Conservation Corps does."

Their goal is to help the young adults, age 18 to 25, get work experience as corpsmembers while improving the state's outdoor trails.

In the park, the Broken Hill trail stretches nearly a mile long. Crews will work on the trail for six to 12 months before it is reopened to the public.

Currently, crews are placing large rocks along the portions of the trail most impacted by erosion. Some workers haul rocks in wheelbarrows, while others shore up the trail with the rocks using hand tools and drystone masonry techniques, according to the group.

"This is really hard, back-breaking kind of work," said Howard. "Quite frankly I think only young people could do [this], because they are hauling down rock by the wheelbarrow down this trail and hauling the wheelbarrow back up and filling it again."

After the corps' grueling work, the Torrey Pines trail will offer hikers broader and safer access to the cliffs and the beach, explained Howard.

"Our whole goal is to give people access to nature," said Miana Yanez, who has worked as a corpsmember since October. "If they’re not around it, if they’re not in it, they’re not going to care about it."

"And that’s how we get state parks and how we get people to care. And that’s how we expand State Parks and preserve more," added Yanez.

Last month, corpsmembers installed redwood stairs on one segment of the trail. This allows hikers to safely go down to overlooks and view the ocean, according to the group.

Once the trail is finished, the group will work to revamp another Torrey Pines trail in the park.

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