The work MCC performs will vary from crew to crew, region to region, and year to year. Not every project is fun, but still have measurable successes in terms of conservation impact. Focusing on the bigger picture is vital to a successful season and career in this field. MCC shows each member techniques for stretching and keeping their body limber and fit. However, we strongly encourage every participant to try out new gear by doing a few hikes in boots and pack to assure fit and comfort. If you don't have access to mountainous outdoors, a set of stairs or going up and down a hill will help just as well. The more prepared you are the better the season will go for you and your crew!
The physical demands include any number of the following, sometimes all of them in one project:
Repetitive Motion—swinging a tool into the ground repeatedly to dig trail tread and using loppers or a handsaw to clear brush from the trail corridor both require the use of muscles which are not necessarily taxed heavily in other life or work situations.
Heavy Lifting—including the heavy backpack which may be a daily component of the gear you carry, this is one of the most common realities an individual faces. Hauling large-diameter logs off trails, carrying lumber for trail features or fence braces, removing large rocks from trails and hauling around the coolers or bins which contain all the food your crew will need for up to 10 days at a time are all common experiences.
Extended hiking while carrying weight—many crews engage in projects which are miles from their campsite, or, the project itself may simply be hiking the length of the trail over a period of days in order to remove blown-down trees and debris from the trail.
Work at high altitudes—while MCC won’t ask you to summit many 14’ers (mountains over 14,000 feet), it may put you in locations that are much higher above sea level than where many people call home.
Work in all weather conditions—depending on the location, crews can expect rain, snow, or extreme temperature swings every month of the year. Adequate gear and a positive mental attitude are necessities for successful completion of a project. Summer brings wildfires to the state and the smoke is often a lingering factor that can create difficulty breathing.
Hygiene—Participants may find themselves in remote locations for weeks at a time. There will often be no access to electricity, toilets or showers. During your training experience, MCC will teach you everything you need to know about practicing hygiene in the backcountry.