Public Lands Stewards: My First Month at Tualatin

 

My first month at the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge began with lots of training and learning. For the last couple of weeks I have been surveying at Wapato Lake for two main invasive species – Lythrum salicaria (purple loosestrife) and Iris pseudacorus (yellowflag iris) (pictured below). Continue Reading…

Public Lands Stewards: A Day in the Life of a Forest Service Wilderness Ranger

The sun shines high above the Pacific Crest Trail. Spinola Creek tumbles through basalt rock worn by millennia of meltwater. A northern harrier hawk crests over Cathedral Ridge looking to make a meal of a vole. It is noon – and like the predator above, I search for my next meal. My hunt is quick; a simple lunch is found in the top of my pack. From the time of wake up six hours ago, I’ve taken ten thousand steps, cut twelve logs, dug eight drainages, and engaged with twenty-six backpackers. In other words, I’ve ensured that five miles of this popular trail are clear for the hundreds of individuals who will hike this section in the comings months; I’ve educated two dozen backpackers on Alpine Lakes Wilderness regulations and Leave-No-Trace principles; I’ve consumed over a liter of water and perspired most of that out. The hawk was successful and returns to soaring the skies. Likewise, I’ve finished my lunch and get back to work. What lies ahead is what lay behind; ten thousand steps, twelve logs, eight drainages, and twenty-six backpackers. This is a day in the life of a US Forest Service Wilderness Ranger.   Continue Reading…

Public Lands Stewards: The Quick and Dirty

 

The first time I crossed over Highway 20 and into the Methow Valley I was in a strangers truck hitchhiking from Bellingham, WA to Glacier National Park. Our driver pulled off the road at Washington Pass where Liberty Bell, Early Winters Spires and the Needles form a striking crown of jagged peaks. “Whoa!” Continue Reading…

Public Lands Stewards: Staying in the Methow Valley

I recently had a lengthy conversation with my Dad about the future; my plans for it, my goals and expectations. I told him I was planning on staying in the Methow Valley for the winter and was applying for 2019 seasonal positions with the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) in the valley working with the wilderness or trails crew. Continue Reading…