DSC  e

Sierra Service Project is well known throughout Del Norte County for the home repair and community service work done by our volunteers. With only 28,000 residents, we have had a big impact in this beautiful and very rural area since 2013. We work with residents and organizations in the coastal towns of Smith River, Fort Dick, and Crescent City as well as, at times, inland in Hiouchi and Gasquet. Because Del Norte County’s poverty rate is more than 20 percent and is one of the poorest counties in the State, we work with the entire community, including some families who are tribal members.

2022 Summer Dates

  • Week 1: Combined Middle & High School starting July 3
  • Week 2: High School only starting July 10
  • Week 3: Combined Middle & High School starting July 17
  • Week 4: Combined Middle & High School starting July 24 (5-night session)
  • Week 5: High School only starting July 31
  • Week 6: Intergenerational starting August 8 (5-night session)

Service Work in Del Norte County

In Del Norte County, half of our work is with homeowners, and half with community-based organizations. The type of work includes building wheelchair ramps, porches, stairs, awnings, and other general home repairs. No construction experience is needed, and you’ll be amazed at all of the work that your youth teams complete! Most projects take longer to complete than your week at SSP so you may see the beginning, middle or end of a project.

Community-Based Projects

We are thrilled for the community partnership opportunities arising for SSP’s summer program this year! 

Volunteers will rotate through community-based projects, many of which have an environmental focus. These include forest thinning and blackberry bush removal with Elk Valley Rancheria, invasive species removal with the Tolowa Dunes Stewards, building an accessible pathway in the College of the Redwoods’ Food Forest, and working in the community garden at the Open Door Community Health Center. So many enthusiastic partners in Del Norte County make for a robust service-learning experience for volunteers!

In 2019, volunteers completed 14 projects for homeowners and community organizations:

  • 1 awning
  • 1 deck
  • 1 fence
  • 3 stair projects
  • 4 ramps
  • 4 painting projects
  • Beach clean ups with Recology
  • Invasive plant removal with Tolowa Dunes Stewards and California State Parks
  • Community garden work with Family Resource Center of the Redwoods and Del Norte County Community Health Center Garden

Community Partners

Adventure Day

Each week the full group volunteers with Tolowa Dunes Stewards on Adventure Day removing invasive European beach grass which threatens the livelihood of native plants and animals. Youth learn about biodiversity and the importance of habitat for bees and other pollinators for the food system.

The day begins with a a one mile hike to the Tolowa Dunes State Park. Teams are encouraged to dig up the longest root (think 6 feet long!) and to make the largest pile of grass. The day is complete with lunch on the beach before heading to the Jedediah Smith Redwood State Park for the afternoon to swim in the Smith River, hike to Stout Grove, and BBQ.

Learn About Del Norte County

Download the detailed SSP Smith River Study Guide to learn about the community and get more out of your SSP experience. We suggest that you download the study guide, share with your group and discuss the materials during a planning meeting.

Follow local news: Del Norte Triplicate

Smith River Location


In Del Norte County, volunteers will be housed at Howland Hill Outdoor School the full summer, with the exception of Week 3. Cabins are available for up to 60 volunteers, and tent camping on the grounds or on cabin porches will be available for overflow. If needed, RVs may also be accommodated (no hookups).

Note on Week 3: During Week 3 our program will be based out of the Smith River United Methodist Church and the Smith River Community Hall. Tent camping is available on the church grounds if desired.

Note on Cabin Housing: The five cabins accommodate up to 12 people each. SSP will do our best to ensure minimal commingling of volunteer groups in each indoor space to reduce possible COVID-19 exposure. However, there will be some overlap in groups sharing cabins, and most weeks, volunteers should plan for some overflow to tent or RV camping. As the summer begins and volunteer group sizes shift, our Co-Directors will have more information on cabin housing, sharing indoor space, and camping overflow ahead of your arrival. Sleeping pads are available for those sleeping in cabins. Please do not bring air mattresses or cots unless you plan to RV/tent camp outside. There is not sufficient space in the cabins for all volunteers to use air mattresses or cots.

Mailing Address:

[Volunteer Name]
C/O Sierra Service Project
General Delivery
Crescent City, CA 95531

Staff Phone: 


Note staff are only accessible at this number between Sunday, June 26 – Monday, August 15.


To get to Del Norte County, consult Google maps or a similar mapping service to find the best route for your group.

Weeks 1-2 & 4-6 – Navigating to Howland Hill Outdoor School:

Please use a navigation system to arrive at these GPS coordinates: 41°45’16.0″N 124°07’46.8″W. 

If approaching from Crescent City (west of the school), take Elk Valley Road to Howland Hill Road. Continue past Elk Valley Tribal Cemetery, then turn right at the Howland Hill Outdoor School. There will be a 1/4 mile gated road, where SSP staff will be present to let you in.

Week 3 – Smith River UMC Address:

121 N Beckstead Ave
Smith River, CA 95567


The average high during the summer is 65°F and low is 50°F. The area is beautiful and at times the days (and nights) can be chilly! Make sure to bring lots of layers and winter clothes – this is not your typical California summer location! Coats, sweatshirts, long pants and hats are recommended. See SSP’s downloads page for more information about how to prepare. For current weather conditions, visit the school’s Weather Bug website.

Tsaile | San Diego | Smith River