2023 VetsWork Field Note: Joey Anderson

by | Field Notes, VetsWork, VW 2023

As a Recreation Resources Technician on the Gifford Pinchot National Forest in Randle, Washington, my main job is to conduct dispersed campsite inventories. A dispersed campsite is basically anywhere that the national forests are that anyone can camp just about anywhere. The only problem with a large forest and camping anywhere is that the Forest Service still must monitor any resource damage that is caused by visitors. That is where I come in. My main objective is to find these campsites, document specific resource damage metrics, and upload that information into a GIS-based system. I am looking for tree damage, homemade toilets, disturbed soil, and the ever-present amount of trash. This information helps guide the head of the recreation department during the next planning area so that she can advocate for new facilities if they are needed. I find the work very fulfilling and fun but that is not the best part of this internship. By far the best part of showing up every day is the people that I work with. It has been my experience so far that the Forest Service is filled is passionate, dedicated, and friendly people. It is really inspiring to see how much gets accomplished being understaffed and underfunded. While these circumstances might be frustrating, my coworkers handle it with grace. Although the incredible lunch views, the solitude of the forest, or chance encounters with wildlife make it easy to come to work, I look forward to seeing my coworkers in the morning the most.