The Northwest Region of the Forest Service has named Joel Starr of Philomath, Ore., as their volunteer of the year. The honor is bestowed upon those individuals who contribute outstanding service to public lands. Starr has worked on a variety of volunteer projects for the Willamette, Deschutes, Siuslaw and Mt. Hood national forests. His contributions to public lands in western Oregon span over 10 years.
Starr’s work includes leading a group of volunteers to deconstruct a rotting trail bridge, rebuilding horse corrals, and clearing over 17 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail. Anyone who enjoys the historic Santiam Wagon Road and countless other trails throughout the Willamette National Forest has seen his handiwork.
He currently serves as the trail boss for Mid-Valley Oregon Equestrian Trails and is a member of the Pacific Crest Trail Association and Back Country Horseman of Oregon.
Starr carries another distinguished title. He is one of a select few volunteers who works with the national forests in Oregon and Washington who can certify other volunteers to use chainsaws and crosscut saws.
“Joel’s outstanding attitude and diverse skills make him an extremely valuable resource,” said Brad Peterson, Wilderness and Trails Manager for the Detroit and Sweet Home Ranger Districts. “He finds the projects, recruits the volunteers, and gets high quality work done safely.”
Thousands of visitors to the Willamette National Forest benefit from the care for public lands demonstrated by Starr. “Volunteers are such an asset to the Forest Service, and we’re pleased that Joel has been recognized,” said Cindy Glick, District Ranger for the Sweet Home Ranger District.