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Category: Forestry

The Brightest Gem in Washington isn’t the Hope Diamond, it’s the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree

Isabella Gerard accompanied by Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) performs her winning poem from Senator Crapo's Contest before the lighting of the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree

Isabella Gerard accompanied by Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) performs her winning poem from Senator Crapo's Contest before the lighting of the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree in Washington DC, Dec. 6, 2016. (U.S. Forest Service photo by Cecilio Ricardo)

The American public doesn’t have to sneak a peek at the Christmas present the U.S. Forest Service has given them this year because it’s on full display just below the U.S. Capitol dome on the building’s West Lawn.

A gift from the Forest Service’s Payette National Forest, this year’s U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree, aptly titled “An Idaho Mountain Gem”, was twinkling like a million facets of a bejeweled royal scepter after Isabella Gerard, a fifth grader from Boise, Idaho, who was chosen to do this honor by winning an poem contest, flipped the switch to illume the great tree. Read more »

A Dazzling Gem from Idaho Arrives on Capitol Hill

Englemann Spruce hoisted and put into place on the West Lawn of Capitol Hill

The giant Englemann Spruce is hoisted and put into place on the West Lawn of Capitol Hill. (Photo credit: Cecilio Ricardo)

You know Christmas is right around the corner when images of the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree being hoisted from a very long tractor trailer show up on your social media apps and on TV.

An ongoing American tradition since 1964, this year, the great tree called fondly by its fans “An Idaho Mountain Gem,” comes from the Payette National Forest near McCall, Idaho. Read more »

Southern Landowners Want to Help At-Risk Wildlife Species

Red-cockaded woodpecker

The red-cockaded woodpecker is an at-risk species under pressure from a loss of forested habitat (Photo Credit: Mary Snieckus)

Amid rising numbers of at-risk wildlife in the South, a new report from the American Forest Foundation (AFF) revealed private and family landowners in the South offer a solution to help at-risk wildlife species.

Southern forests rank at the top in terms of biodiversity when measured by the number of wildlife and plant species. But, due to a variety of reasons, a significant number of the South’s wildlife species are at risk. The reasons include: forest conversion to non-forest uses such as strip malls and commercial expansion; fragmented waterways; natural fire suppression; and an influx of invasive species. Read more »

Wily coyotes continue to thrive in the Southeast at the expense of deer populations

Historically a species of the North American plains, coyotes now occupy much of the Southeast. (Photo by Rebecca Richardson, courtesy of Wikimedia.org.)

Historically a species of the North American plains, coyotes now occupy much of the Southeast. (Photo by Rebecca Richardson, courtesy of Wikimedia.org.)

Coyotes began migrating eastward throughout the latter half of the 20th Century. Once restricted to the western plains, they now occupy most of the continent and have invaded farms and cities, where they have expanded their diet to include squirrels, household pets and discarded fast food.

Land-use changes in the U.S., the disappearance of wolves, a growing human population, and a remarkable ability to adapt to new environments and conditions encouraged coyotes to expand into new habitats and thrive, while other predators faced with similar pressures dwindled and faced extinction. Read more »

Aviation History Month: Aircraft and Paratroopers in the Forest Service

Airplane fire patrol circling Mt. Jefferson in the Cascade Range. (Credit U.S. Army Air Service 1920.)

Airplane fire patrol circling Mt. Jefferson in the Cascade Range. (Credit U.S. Army Air Service 1920.)

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. Read more »

Digitally discover your public lands using the new Forest Service Visitor Map

Visitor Map screenshot shows a sampling of Yonder images from national forests and grasslands throughout the country. (U.S. Forest Service.)

Visitor Map screenshot shows a sampling of Yonder images from national forests and grasslands throughout the country. (U.S. Forest Service.)

There are few better ways to plan your get away on a national forests or grasslands than to use the Forest Service’s online Visitor Map. With thousands of recreation areas, roads and an increasing number of trail systems, you can digitally explore and plan your next adventure from home before you even hit the road.

 With recently updated features, finding the perfect forest or grassland location is easier than ever. 

Read more »