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forest service

Aviation History Month: Aircraft and Paratroopers in the Forest Service

It shouldn’t surprise anyone that the U.S. Forest Service relies heavily on fixed wing and rotary aircraft to accomplish the agency’s mission. Employees take to the skies for forest inventory surveys, prescribed fire support, firefighting or to get to remote locations. Since 1919, aircraft has been an invaluable resource for the agency.

There are differing accounts as to when the Forest Service first put aircraft to use. But, it wasn’t until 1919 when Forest Service leadership talked about the use of aviation resources. In April, Forester Coert du Bois told Chief Forester Henry Graves that aerial fire patrols would begin on the Angeles and Cleveland National Forests. These patrols, supported by military pilots from the Air Service of the U.S. Army, continued through 1927, after which the Air Service could no longer support the agency.

Forest Service Brings People Together for National Public Lands Day

Organizing the largest single-day volunteer effort in support of public lands in the country, National Public Lands Day, is no easy feat for the U.S. Forest Service. That’s 40 days of volunteer projects, BioBlitzes, fishing derbies, and educational events, all of which are registered with the National Environmental Education Foundation, the organization that started National Public Lands Day 23 years ago.

Forest Service waives fees in support of the nation’s largest volunteer effort on public lands


As the fall season slowly matriculates and the autumn equinox makes its debut, volunteers are encouraged to give back by participating in the annual National Public Lands Day.

National Public Lands Day, in its 22nd year, is the nation’s largest, single-day volunteer effort in support of public lands. Last year, more than 175,000 volunteers served at over 2,000 sites in every state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Since it’s inception in 1994, with only three sites and 700 volunteers, the event has garnered community support year-after-year.

Inner-city Baltimore Youth make Special Visit to Boulder-White Clouds in Idaho


On a chilly Friday afternoon in Washington, D.C., local employees, partners, and visitors took refuge from the cold outside for a special film-screening event in USDA’s Jefferson Auditorium, “Engaging the Next Generation of Conservation Stewards.” 

Five short films debuted to an audience of more than 80 partners and guests. This point, in itself, may have you wondering, “So What?” However, it’s the goal of the films and the potential for affecting the lives of young people that make this an important event. 

Are You Curious About What Lies Beneath the Earth’s Surface? So Are We!

Those curious about what’s below the water’s surface don snorkeling gear and immerse themselves into the depths of the ocean. But what about discovering what lurks below the earth’s surface, under topsoil, trees, shrubs, rocks and plants? 

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, (NRCS) in Nevada is curious, too, and the agency’s soil scientists have finished unearthing what kind of soils lie beneath the surface in portions of central and eastern Nevada. Their findings are available to assist farmers, ranchers, land managers, homeowners or those just simply curious about what lies beneath.

Look to Idaho's Ponderosa Pine Scenic Byway for Fall Color Vistas

One of the first excursions Idaho locals recommend to newcomers is the Ponderosa Pine Scenic Byway along Highway 21 from Boise to Stanley, Idaho. The popular route traverses foothills, high-elevation forests and scenic river canyons in the heart of the Boise National Forest and Sawtooth National Recreation Area.

Although beautiful in any season, fall is my favorite time of year for exploring Highway 21. The combination of sunny, cool days melding into together with cold-but-not-freezing nights help intensify the forest’s autumn hues. Color is often good in September but generally peaks in in early to mid-October, depending on elevation. 

U.S. Public Lands Continue to Create Jobs and Boost Local Economies Through Tourism, Restoration Efforts, and Energy Initiatives

Cross posted from the White House blog:

America’s national parks, forests, wildlife refuges, and other outdoor spaces are treasured for their beauty, their enjoyment, and for their value to our culture and history -- sometimes, it can be easy to overlook that they also serve as economic drivers for American communities.  In sectors ranging from tourism to outdoor recreation and energy development, our nation’s public lands and waters are creating jobs and supporting local economies across the country.

Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released an annual visitor survey, which highlights how our nation’s forests are contributing billions of dollars to the economy and creating jobs in tourism, restoration, and renewable energy.  The report showed that USDA Forest Service lands attracted 166 million visitors in 2011, and, as a result, visitor spending in nearby communities sustained more than 200,000 full- and part-time jobs.  The survey also reveals that these jobs produced labor income of more than $7.6 billion, while forest and grassland visitor spending contributed more than $13 billion to the gross domestic product.