Young workers help Indiana parks during cutbacks

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

A stimulus-funded jobs program that gives young Indiana residents summer work is helping keep the state's parks shipshape by providing workers during a period of budget cuts, park officials say.

At Pokagon State Park in far northeastern Indiana, the 56 young men and women hired through the Young Hoosiers Conservation Corps are improving park trails, painting buildings, manning the gatehouse and doing other work, property manager Ted Bohman said.

With budget cuts having reduced the park's seasonal work force from the 40 normally hired to 15, he said the young workers are taking up some of the slack.

"It came at the right time," Bohman said Monday, referring to the federal money. "And it's being used in a way that not only enhances the park but also gives these kids an opportunity to learn something they otherwise wouldn't have."

Indiana got $24 million in stimulus funding split between 2009 and 2010 to hire about 2,000 young people for summer jobs that pay $8.50 per hour and last about 16 weeks. Some hired as supervisors will earn $9.50 per hour over 18 to 24 weeks. To qualify, people must be 18 to 24 years old.

Since Indiana was awarded the money last year, Gov. Mitch Daniels has cut hundreds of millions of dollars from the state budget because the recession has reduced state revenue. State agencies are under orders to cut spending by 15 percent for the fiscal year that starts July 1.

Indiana Department of Natural Resources spokesman Phil Bloom said the agency had hired about 1,000 seasonal workers at the peak of the summer season in past years. But because of the budget restrictions this year, it's capped those summer jobs at 548 positions.

He said the young workers hired by the DNR — 1,665 as of Monday — will help the seasonal workers with important maintenance work at many of the state's 24 state parks and dozens of other properties.

"It definitely helped, and it's added to projects that even that core group of summer intermittent may not have been able to get to even under normal circumstances," Bloom said.

Last year, those projects included the removal of about 3,000 acres of nonnative plants such as Asian honeysuckle, a bush that's crowding out native plants. The young workers also renovated 380 buildings and 50 historic buildings owned by the DNR, built 30 miles of new trails and upgraded 500 miles of existing trails.

The Indiana Department of Workforce Development is administering the Young Hoosiers work program. Agency spokesman Marc Lotter said no decision has been made on whether the program will continue next year, when no stimulus money will be available.

At southern Indiana's Falls of the Ohio State Park, eight Young Hoosiers workers have been hired so far for the summer, park manager Steve Knowles said. He said the park has three seasonal workers, one less than last year.

The young workers are helping the park's eight full-time staff with daily maintenance and also providing an interpreter for a cabin that's a re-creation of the one Revolutionary War hero Gen. George Rogers Clark built near the Ohio River in 1803.

"I probably would have had a really tough time staffing the Clark cabin this year without them, and our flower beds probably wouldn't look as nice," Knowles said.

Last year, the Young Hoosiers program covered only DNR properties. This year, the state Department of Transportation also is hiring summer workers under the program. As of Monday, INDOT had signed up 435 people for the 500 openings, spokesman Will Wingfield said.


Post a comment to this story

We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. Hello Dear Are you tired of Seeking Loans and Mortgages,have you Been Turned down constantly By your banks and Other Financial Institutions or Micro Finance scheme. This is let you know with 100% guarantee that we Offer loans ranging from $1,000 Minimum to $1,000,000.00 Maximum at 3% interest rate per Month. We give out LOANS for developing business. a competitive edge/business expansion. email address: michealscottloan124@gmail.com We offer the following kinds of loans and many more; * Personal Loans ( Unsecured Loan) * Business Loans ( Unsecured Loan) * Consolidation Loan * Combination Loan * Home Improvement * Xmas Loans for contact to seek for loan email this email address: michealscottloan124@gmail.com Thanks

  2. My name is Mr Henry Josh and i live in the USA California and life is worth living right now for me and my family and all this is because of one man sent by GOD to help me and my family, i once had a life filled with sorrow because my first SON needed a kidney transplant and all our savings were going towards his medications and this normally leaves us with no money to pay our bills or even put enough food on our table and our rent was due and no funds to pay these bills and life felt so unfair to me and every night my wife will cry herself to sleep every night until one day, i was browsing through yahoo answers and i saw a striking advert of a man that gives out personal loans and that the offer is opened to all and i have heard so many things about internet scams but at this point of my life, i was very desperate and ready to take any risk and at the end of the day, i applied for this loan and from one step to another, i got my loan within 12 hours through bank transfer and you know, it was all like a dream and i called Mr Daniel Jones A Man who is the GOD sent lender i found and said, i have received my loan and he smiled stating that to GOD be the glory and i was so shocked as i have never ever seen anyone with such a GOD fearing and kind heart and today, i am the happiest man on earth because by GOD’S grace, my SON kidney transplant was successful and today he is healthy, i and my family are living very comfortable and happy and if you are in my former situation or in serious and legitimate need of a loan, you can reach this GOD sent lender via fidelityloanfirm@outlook.com

  3. Greetings to everyone reading this comment!!! I am Greg William by name. I am out here to recommend the effort of Mark Oscar,I was in need of a consolidation loan amount of 50,000 and as soon as I got in contact with Mark Oscar Loan Firm on Wednesday last week and on Friday last week as well I receive an alert from my bank(Royal Bank of Scotland Group) that the fund was transferred,I want everybody on this site to contact Mark Oscar now via email on how to get a loan because I got my loan from them and I am very happy,so contact them now. Oscarloanfinance@hotmail.com Thanks!!!!!!

  4. Elected officials, like Mourdock, get vested in 8 years. It takes 10 years for all other public employees, most of whom make a lot less money. So much for the promise to finish out his term.

  5. Great state treasurer and a good man!! Just curious if the folks who didn't quite understand his quote would like to tell my daughter-in-law that God didn't intend her! Mourdock's comment was correct but twisted and the article didn't mention that his opponent and the press let the impression stand that Mourdock meant that the rape was intended. Stupid people!!