The Nevada Youth Range Camp
Registration is $200 - be sure to check for registration fees covered by financial sponsors
Nevada Ranch and Farm Exchange, Article Spring 2010
We invite high school youth to enjoy a week of fun, camping, and learning about rangelands and natural resource management. The camp headquarters is located at the U.S. Forest Service Big Creek Campground. Big Creek winds its way through the Toiyabe Mountain Range of Central Nevada, providing a splendid setting for learning and recreation.
The camp has a long and successful history. Since 1961, hundreds of Nevada's youth have participated in the program. Today, many former campers manage natural resources for their families, communities, or agencies.
Nevada Youth Range Camp focuses on relationships between people and rangeland. Campers learn about plants, wildlife, water, and soil in order to make good decisions about rangeland management and use. They learn skills and explore careers in rangeland and related resource management. The camp challenges youth to explore resource problems and to create logical solutions. While one week does not create rangeland managers out of campers, it helps future leaders develop the perspective to understand rangeland resources.
The week is filled with many learning opportunities. Instructors teach various subjects through group investigations. Camp instructors and counselors are trained specialists from the University of Nevada, Reno; Natural Resources Conservation Service; Bureau of Land Management; Forest Service; Nevada Division of Forestry; Nevada Division of Conservation Districts; Nevada Division of Wildlife; and others.
During the week, campers learn the importance of range plants, how to identify them, and their usefulness to livestock, wildlife, and watersheds. They focus on the connections between range soils and vegetation. Campers study wildlife and learn about wildlife habitat conservation. A local rancher takes campers on a ranch tour and discusses range management as a business. Campers also use teamwork to develop and present a rangeland management plan and implement a conservation project.
Campers arrive by noon on Sunday and break camp the following Saturday morning. Campers register and form groups with an adult counselor and assistant youth counselor. The weeklong program runs from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., and includes instruction, projects, rest, meals, and recreation. Adult supervision occurs throughout the entire week. Parents and sponsors are welcome to visit the camp any time and are especially invited for the Friday night awards program. The evening programs are geared more for enjoyment and personal interest and include map and compass orientation, conservation skill workshops, wildlife presentations, and campfires. At mid-week, a shower and swim at the Austin pool precedes the BBQ and special evening program.
While the camp is educational, it also offers an enjoyable outdoor experience shared with youth from around Nevada. Activities include swimming, fishing, hiking, volleyball, horseshoes, campfires, and entertainment, along with ample opportunities for photography. Campers must bring along their own tackle and valid Nevada fishing license if they plan to fish.