Since the program's inception in 2003, Rocky Mountain National Park has benefited from service provided by the American Conservation Corps. The goal of the program is to expose students to rigorous outdoor service work in a national park in the hopes that they will learn new outdoor skills, how to work on a team, make some money for college, and the potential to pursue a career path in the field of conservation.
Over the course of a summer, crews give 2400 hours of service to the park. The ACC help maintain the trails to Mills Lake, Dream to Emerald Lakes, Loch/Sky Pond, Storm Pass, Cub Lake, and Lake Irene. ACC crews are involved in construction projects as well as maintenance runs. This means participants learn drystone masonry skills, installation of log checks, bridge building, and design basics as well the importance of maintaining structures previous crews have constructed. The primary role of the ACC is to assist the Trails Department. Though the crews have been involved in projects with the Invasive Plant, Revegetation, Elk Study, and the Wilderness Crews.
One day a week is reserved as an educational day. Crews take classes on binding, tundra ecology, career opportunities in public lands, fish surveying, and cultural history of the Estes Valley. These classes are instrumental in a participant's understanding of the need for conservation and preservation.
In the summers of 2006 and 2007, two additional ACC crews were added. One each for Roosevelt and Arapahoe National Forests. These crews have assisted the Forest Service in many similar and essential tasks. One of those crews works primarily in the Rewa Wilderness area. The other works with the Sulphur Ranger District in Grand Lake. Participants are between the ages of eighteen to twenty-one years old and must be currently enrolled in college. In 2007 crew members came from all over the United States: New York, South Dakota, Colorado, Nebraska, New Hampshire, and Kansas to name a few.In 2008, RMNA expects to have fifteen participants and three crew leaders staffing three crews.These scholars will see a rewarding summer of hard work, education, and rewarding experiences. The program is possible through a generous donation to the Rocky Mountain Nature Association (RMNA) from the Daniels Foundation as well as from other private donors. Daniels Scholars are encouraged to apply and are given priority for positions. Though many non-Daniels scholars participate as well.