I am so excited to be serving an Americorps internship with the US Forest Service through the Mt. Adams Institute’s Public Lands Stewards program! I have been working as a wilderness ranger at Mt. Adams Ranger District for about 10 weeks now and already have been able to learn so much about wilderness, ranger skills, and the Gifford Pinchot National Forest as a whole.
One highlight (of many) from my experience so far has been attending wilderness ranger training in the McKenzie Bridge River Ranger District in the Willamette National Forest. My crewmember and I joined other rangers from the area for a long weekend of learning and implementing critical skills for wilderness rangers. These included conducting campsite inventories, monitoring social trails, orienteering, making visitor contacts, wilderness education, and trail work protocols. A new skill I was able to develop was utilizing a crosscut saw to buck out a wilderness trail. I really enjoyed the problem-solving aspect of the work to ensure you clear the trail in a safe and efficient manner. It was great to work together as a team to do the cross-cut “tango” and see the progress we were making as we moved down the trail. It was hard work but satisfying in the end! A big thanks and shout-out to our saw “Gandolf” for being a trusty tool for the job (as well as the McKenzie River Ranger District wilderness crew for putting the training on). It was a great chance to learn from each other and hear insights from those that have been working in the field for many years. I’m looking forward to the rest of the season and can’t wait to continue working and exploring the Gifford Pinchot!