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California Trails

SAMO Youth Program Connects Diverse Teens to NPS

A highly selective program introduces high school seniors and grads to National Park Service work in the Santa Monica mountains.

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Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area is the largest urban national park in the country, but some Los Angeles teenagers don’t realize it’s thereā€”at least that’s what one of them, 18-year-old Andrew Hernandez, says in this story about a unique youth program that brings Los Angeles youth into the wilderness to work. The highly selective program, called SAMO Youth, lets high school seniors and recent grads try everything from kayaking to building trail to dissecting coyote scat.