Deliver Benefits to the Public

Bridge building by hand in in Carson National Forest


Preparing to lay down the bridge, Columbine-Hondo Wilderness, Questa Ranger District. Forest Service photos by Richard Holmes.

NEW MEXICO — For over two weeks in late July and early August, members of the Southwest Conservation Corps constructed a bridge over a creek in the Columbine-Hondo Wilderness on the Questa Ranger District. With few safe locations to cross the creek, the bridge was greatly needed.

Because the bridge was being built in a Wilderness area, the work had to be done by hand with tools that were not mechanized or motorized.  A vintage cross-cut saw dating back to the 1950’s was used to cut the logs. Hundreds of rocks of various sizes had to be hand carried to the site to shore up the approach to the bridge. Hand tools were used to carve a flat surface into the giant logs.  Although the job was arduous, the crew, aged 18-25, found the project fun and rewarding.


The finished bridge, Columbine-Hondo Wilderness, Questa Ranger District. Forest Service photos by Richard Holmes.

The Forest Service is very grateful to have the assistance of the SCC in accomplishing this project. SCC provides young adults the opportunity to complete challenging and impactful conservation and service projects ranging from trail building and fuels reduction to erosion control and tree planting. The Forest Service partnership with SCC is invaluable because it helps accomplish critical natural resource work while providing youth with challenging, meaningful work and valuable teamwork and life skills.

A reporter from the Sangre de Cristo Chronicle spent a day with the crew; to read her story here, and see a lot more pictures.


Southwest Conservation Corps members, halfway through the process of constructing a bridge over a creek in the Columbine-Hondo Wilderness on the Questa Ranger District. Forest Service photos by Richard Holmes.