As I departed Sisters this past Monday to start working in Crescent, I thought about all the people I’ve encountered and the experiences I’ve gathered since I first started this internship in February. I have gained more invaluable lessons in the first five months than I had gained in one season working for the Maryland State Parks. Splitting up my time between the Sisters and Crescent Ranger Districts has allowed me to gain twice the amount of knowledge and experience.
The agency’s Special Uses program authorizes uses on National Forest System (NFS) land providing a benefit to the general public and protecting public and natural resources values. Currently, there are over 74,000 authorizations on the NFS lands for over 180 types of uses.
When I started the internship in February I was handed the task of reissuing multiple land use permits on the District. The expired permits included multiple uses such as access roads to private property, signs, water spring systems, research studies, waste transfer stations, clubs, a church and a cabin encroachment. The land use feature of Special Uses has been by far the most enjoyable aspect of my work. My motto has always been it’s the people’s forest, we (the Forest Service) just manage it. It is possible to have a multitude of various user experiences on the forest through due diligence and plenty of NEPA (the National Environment Policy Act).
During my time on the Sisters Ranger District, I was able to successfully reissue over twenty expired permits. Along with the expired land use permits reissuance, I was also given the opportunity to process and monitor recurring recreation event permits along with a brand new outfitter and guide permit and still photography permit. It is very rewarding to be able to help individuals or businesses develop their ideas into fruition.
As a Special Uses administrator, through constant contact with your permit holders and by sorting through correspondence paperwork and documents in files that sometimes date back over 75 years or more, you gain a significant awareness of the historical nature and importance of the position. It is a unique and vital puzzle piece of the entire agency. I have been very humbled and privileged to have been part of the Special Uses program on the Deschutes National Forest.