Friday, June 19, 2009

A Wilderness Life

Life as a Wilderness Ranger in the Prescott National Forest has been amazing! When I'm not in the Wilderness, I'm thinking about the Wilderness. Today, we went out to Granite Mountain Wilderness area and created a ROG (Recreation Opportunity Guide) for the Baby Granite Trail (#320). In order to do this we needed to GPS the whole entire trail first. We woke up early and got the trail head at about 7:30am. After setting up the GPS we proceeded to hike the entire 9.something miles of trail #320. After a long hike, we got back to the office and started our ROG. A ROG is typically what you find in the sign-in box at most Forest Service trail heads explaining anything and everything about the trails in the area. It tells you everything from altitudes on the trail, what kind of plants and wildlife you might see, and it ever tells you the best time of year to visit. Today we finished just one ROG and tomorrow we will finish more. Until then, here are some pictures of the area we hiked today...

Friday, June 5, 2009

Abiquiu, New Mexico

Today we rolled into Prescott at 4:15 in the morning. On Friday, May 29th we packed up the green Forest Service SUV truck and headed Northeast to Abiquiu, New Mexico. You might be wondering why Abiquiu? Well, there is a little place called Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu that holds numerous conferences and retreats in a way that is reminiscent of every kids favorite summer camp, bad food and all. I was there to attend the 2009 Wilderness Rendezvous. The Wilderness Rendezvous went from Sunday, May 31st to Thursday, June 4th and was a training/educational program for all wilderness rangers of the Southwest region (region 2 and 3). We spent 5 days learning about what it takes to be a wilderness ranger, what it means to preserve our wild areas and 'Leave No Trace,' what it is like to work for the National Forest Service, and even how to 'fell' and 'buck' a tree so that it is safe for all. Each day was full of classroom sessions, field work, and networking opportunities. Here is an example of what just one of our days looked like at the Ghost Ranch:

Tuesday, June 2 - Lower Pavilion
Facilitator- Tom Dwyer

0800-0830 Housekeeping, Introductions (Tom Dwyer)

0830-0900 Welcome - Gilbert Zepeda - R3 Deputy Regional Forester

0900-1000 American Values - American Wilderness - video

1000-1015 BREAK

1015-1100 Wilderness History and Law - Doug Scott, Policy Director, Campaign for America's

1100-1200 Rapid Campsite Assessment Overview (David Cole)
(review of process and afternoon field work)

1200-1230 LUNCH

1230-1700 Rapid Campsite Assessment Field Work (David Cole), Location: field

1730- DINNER

7-9 pm George Duffy - Retired FS Wilderness Manager - Wilderness: We Define It, It
Defines Us - followed by Wild by Law - Lower Pavilion

Needless to say, my week at the ghost Ranch was full of fun, education, and hard work. Until the next posting...