VetsWork: Special Uses in a Special Place

by | VetsWork

Hello! I’m Christophor Cooksey, an AmeriCorps VetsWork special uses intern. I came from Northern California and relocated to beautiful Central Oregon at the Crescent Ranger District in Crescent, Oregon. Since starting here in February I have learned how much special uses plays a role on National Forest land. I have a desk job and I get to go out into the field to check up on the recreation residence cabins around the lakes – I get the best of both worlds. There were a lot of meetings in the first month to meet with the Special Uses Administrator for electrical lines from Midstate Electric in Bend, Oregon that run through multiple districts. I went out to Crescent Town Site at Crescent Lake with my supervisor and the District Facilities Manager to check on some of the abandoned cabins that need to be disposed of. We took some samples of the materials to have tested, so the district could do a possible “learn to burn” on the cabins. Recently, I got access to the Special Uses Data System also known as SUDs and have completed two recreation residence permits for their cabins. Later in the summer, I’ll be doing inspections at some of the recreation residence cabins.

Being the only intern at my district, my supervisor has allowed me to get tasked out to other departments to get exposure to other areas of the Forest Service. I’ve helped out the recreation lead go around and check the snow parks and restrooms to make sure they are cleaned and stocked. I dug with the District archeologist in Shelter Cove, Oregon for the resort’s new septic line inspection. We had to dig two shovel probes (120 cm deep, digging in 10 cm increments) and sift through the dirt looking for obsidian artifacts.

There were lots of small artifacts and I got to see how volcanic eruptions shaped the landscape by being able to see the time lines through the layers of dirt.

This past week, I got the chance to go out with the local District wildlife crew and do some Oregon spotted frog egg mass surveys. It’s like a nature walk with weights on. Even though it was raining/snowing, it was a lot of fun and a good experience. Our group located 1084 egg masses!