VetsWork: Exploring Gifford Pinchot National Forest

 

It has been two months since I started my internship as a developed recreation site surveyor for the Gifford Pinchot National Forest and the training keeps on coming. There are so many opportunities to take advantage of trainings and job certifications that I’ve been going non-stop since February! This crazy winter left us with enough snow that getting to survey sites has been difficult at all elevations. Now that spring is here things are starting to ramp up for the season as more sites thaw out. Planning surveys, field prep and field work have taken center stage at this point and I foresee an incredibly busy season.

Working out of the headquarters for the Gifford Pinchot National Forest, I am shoulder-to-shoulder daily with much of the administrative side of Forest Service work. Speaking with them has been incredibly enlightening. Every department, from Recreation to Timber Sales, has a different perspective in respect to the forest and it is interesting to see how the departments work together to ensure the health of the forest and everything in it.

Having said that, I’ve been getting familiar with the forest by driving the roads and checking snow levels in preparation for the late spring and summer. In the process I have come across some of the most spectacular views I have ever seen. Part of the reason I accepted the internship with the Forest Service is to work outside, and see places most people don’t. It has certainly succeeded in that regard.

Here I am walking the paths at Panther Creek Campground to see if a condition survey is feasible. Strong winds the past few days brought down trees all over the area and some snow on the site made this site inaccessible to vehicles.

 

A nice day at upper elevations and checking the condition of a small building up at Wakepish Sno-Park just south of Mt. Rainier.

 

This is Sunset Falls campground where I was testing a new data collection device. The Gifford Pinchot is experimenting with newer technology to better integrate field data collection programs and the government INFRA data system. The waterfall and natural grotto near the campground is a great spot for lunch.

Looking forward, there is much work to be done and I cannot wait to hit it head on!