“I have no doubt that the next ten months will be very memorable for me…a step into a new direction most don’t take.”
Heyooo! My name’s Mario Licata and I was raised in Bothell, WA. I graduated high school in 2005 and was off to boot camp for the Marine Corps not a month later. I had the chance to travel most of the country during my time in a the service as well as a short list of countries such as, Cuba, Ireland, France (twice), Kuwait, Canada, and Iraq. I deployed in October of 2008 to Fallujah, Iraq where I patrolled out of a base named PB Green which was located right off the Euphrates River southeast of the city. Since separation from the Marines I’ve had one specific goal; whatever I end up doing for a career I won’t settle for something I will not enjoy wholeheartedly. My return to the Pacific Northwest has sparked a passion and longing to be in and apart of the outdoors. Whether its car camping in my jeep with a few buddies or backpacking far into the backcountry to get a sense of remoteness, I’ve felt a calling to the wilderness and the simple beauty it delivers.
Foremost, the only reason I’m a part of this great Vetswork AmeriCorps internship is because my remarkable girlfriend, Kim Ratti, was browsing craigslist and came across a Veteran specific program with ties to the Forest Service. Without her support, love, and understanding I would not be here. I didn’t need to hear another word. I had her email me the link immediately and the application process had begun. I had never really researched what it takes to pursue a career in the Forest Service but I knew this was a chance to gain experience in what could be a very fulfilling career. I was drawn quickly to the general responsibilities of a Wilderness Specialist once the first line read “travel into wilderness areas for up to 10 days.” What more could I ask for? My favorite movie/documentary, 180 Degrees South, has a quote in it from Yvon Chouinard who is the founder of Patagonia apparel. He says “The hardest thing in the world is to simplify your life; it’s so easy to make it complex.” I’ve given that a lot of thought and believe it applies to this program and what I want out of it. This gives me a chance to reboot and start in something I’m very passionate about while also using my title as a veteran and the benefits at my disposal.
While serving as a Wilderness Specialist for the next ten months I am most excited about the field work, which should begin in May and end sometime around October. I will be making a presence in the lakes basin areas of the Eagle Cap Wilderness. Someone to represent the Forest Service in the backcountry to ensure rules and regulations are being obeyed and followed. The prep work I’ve begun already has its sense of importance as well. There is much work to be done and gear to inventory to ensure a smooth field season as well as once the season is over making certain serviceability of gear is checked and stowed appropriately to make it easier the following year. I have no doubt that the next ten months will be very memorable for me and quite a step into a new direction most don’t take. I’m looking forward to it. Cheers!