The projects MCC completes will vary across crews and regions. The projects are often physically demanding and offer a clear sense of accomplishment and meaningful contribution. Sometimes projects get tedious, but we persist. We strive for a healthy injury free experience and that means we need you to be on board with safety. A significant injury in a remote location requires the rest of your crew to become caregivers and initiate emergency procedures for you. In the instance of an evacuation or your inability to perform the work, it means your crew will have to carry your share of the load—the impacts of negligence are much farther reaching than just you. But with a positive attitude and attention, you will succeed.
The physical demands include any of the following - sometimes all of them in one project:
Repetitive Motion—swinging a tool into the ground repeatedly to dig trail tread or using loppers or a hand saw to clear brush from the trail corridor both require the use of muscles which are not necessarily used much in other life situations. The results of this sometimes include muscle aches and strains, and if overdone, can lead to carpal tunnel injuries.
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. Backs and knees get worked, even when using proper lifting techniques. Some of MCC’s most common injuries occur through underestimating the impact this task makes. Expect to do a lot, and watch not to overdo it.
Extended hiking while carrying weight—many crews engage in projects which are far 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—The thinner air combined with physical activity like hiking uphill may exacerbate breathing difficulties for those with a history of asthma. While it can be managed, being aware of the conditions and of your own physical ability is the first step.
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. Summer brings wildfires to the state and the smoke is often a lingering factor that can irritate breathing difficulties.
Hygiene—Participants may find themselves in remote locations for up to two weeks at a time. There will often be no access to electricity, toilets or showers. “Bathing” will look much different than having access to running water.