Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack (second from right) and his family recently at Pike National Forest in Colorado. USDA photo.
Across the nation, 193 million acres of National Forest land provide incredible benefits to every American – from outdoor recreation opportunities to cleaner air, soil and water that impact folks from all walks of life.
And with a simple permit and some planning ahead, a National Forest can also provide a great Christmas tree during the holidays – as well as an incredible experience in visiting the forest. This year my family joined thousands of others in venturing onto a National Forest to find our tree.
Our visit to Pike National Forest in Colorado was truly memorable. The Forest encompasses more than one million acres, is home to many exceptional outdoor recreation opportunities, resources and landscapes such as the 14,110-foot Pikes Peak. The forest also is home to the headwaters of the South Platte River, which provides 60 percent of the Denver metropolitan area’s water supply. Read more »
Smokey waves to the crowd at the pre-season opener with Nuggets mascot Rocky at center court. (U.S. Forest Service/Todd Riecks)
The National Basketball Association’s Denver Nuggets honored U.S. Forest Service Hotshot crews and first responders throughout the state of Colorado at a recent Fans and Heroes Night in Denver.
The U.S. Forest Service participated in activities before, during and after the game with Smokey Bear attending his first NBA game in Colorado. Smokey encouraged fans to be prepared for emergencies and gave two big “paws up” to the men and women who serve their communities as first responders. Read more »
Kristy Wumkes (left), partnership coordinator on the Canyon Lands Ranger District, and volunteers greets visitors to the U.S. Forest Service booth at the Fort Collins stage finish line. (U.S. Forest Service/Reghan Cloudman)
It was hard to hear over the noise of screaming spectators chanting “USA, USA, USA” recently at the finish line of the USA Pro Challenge in downtown Denver. The city served as the end point for the more than 600-mile, seven-stage road cycling race held in Colorado for the third consecutive year. There were many excited faces in the crowd as 150 professional cyclists from 16 international teams sprinted through the finish line.
“This is not just a bike race,” said a spectator who has attended the event every year. “It’s about the people coming together to take part in creating a memorable event for something we love to do.” Read more »
Undersecretary Robert Bonnie (second from left) is briefed by NRCS Soil Conservationist Don Graffis. Graffis discussed NRCS recovery efforts in the wake of a 2013 flood near Lyons Colorado. NRCS photo.
Recently, Undersecretary for Natural Resources and Environment Robert Bonnie visited Colorado to connect with USDA employees in the wake of the government shutdown. On the morning of Wednesday, October 23rd Undersecretary Bonnie traveled to Fort Collins to host a USDA “family meeting” and listen to nearly 100 employees as they shared comments, asked questions, and voiced concerns. The Undersecretary fielded numerous questions during the structured event, while after several employees shared their appreciation for the chance to hear from and interact with leadership within the Department.
Later in the afternoon the Undersecretary participated in a tour that helped provide a hands-on account of the impact and devastation resulting from the recent flood which was only compounded because of the 2012 wildfires. The first leg of the tour was led by Donald Graffis, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) soil conservationist in Longmont, Colo., while Sylvia Clark, Forest Service (FS) district ranger in Boulder coordinated the second half. Phyllis Ann Philipps, NRCS State Conservationist in Colorado and Dan Jiron, FS Regional Forester were also on hand during the tour. Read more »
Be aware of your surroundings when visiting National Forest System land. Deception Creek Trail. Willamette National Forest, Oregon. (US Forest Service photo)
Two bow hunters recently discovered a marijuana grow site on the White River National Forest, one of the most visited forests in the country.
The site, located near Redstone, Colo., contained 3,375 marijuana plants with an estimated value of $8.4 million. Forest Service crews removed the plants, dismantled the irrigation system and removed items left in a make-shift camp used by the growers. Helicopters assisted by airlifting the plants and other debris associated with the illegal growing site from the area. No arrests have been made and the case remains under investigation. Read more »
Daucus: Top-view of the flower structure of Daucus carota, Queen Anne’s lace or wild carrot, Bedford County, Virginia. Doug Goldman, USDA-NRCS-NPDT
Recently the PLANTS website crossed a milestone with the uploading of its 50,000th image. The database, managed by the National Plant Data Team at the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service’s East National Technology Support Center, hosts images of plants that grow in the U.S. and its territories.
The PLANTS site is one of USDA’s most frequently visited websites.
Besides images, PLANTS provides basic information on plants, including scientific names and distribution. It is used worldwide by scientists, educators, conservationists, students, farmers, horticulturists and others. All of this information assists people in identifying plants with the correct scientific names. Read more »