The “Great Smokey Sphinx,” the largest sculpting effort by Forest Service volunteers, put the Payette National Forest on the snow sculpture scene at the McCall (Idaho) Winter Carnival snow sculpture contest. (U.S. Forest Service photo)
A team of volunteers from the Payette National Forest have sculpted “Smokey’s Magic” a 12-foot high, 3 foot deep sculpture of Smokey Bear in a wizard’s cloak with snowball in hand for the popular Winter Carnival in nearby McCall, Idaho. The Forest Service team, whose members all volunteer their off-duty time to the sculpting, are always determined to make a good showing. And Smokey Bear is routinely part of their team. Read more »
As the USDA Rural Development State Director for Oregon, I’m aware of the significant economic benefits our programs have produced in partnership with rural communities, residents and businesses in every corner of my state. As I drove across the country during my recent vacation, I was curious to also see how visible the Agency’s support for place-appropriate, locally led efforts would be on my route from Oregon to Virginia. Knowing what to look for, I could easily identify the signs of rural economic and community development—even from my limited dashboard viewpoint—as I drove a transect path across the USDA Rural Development nationwide service area. Rural America accounts for 75 percent of the Nation’s land area, and that is where we work. Across the rural landscape, it is difficult, if not impossible, to find a community that hasn’t benefitted in some way from our support for affordable housing, business development, essential infrastructure, community facilities and clean, efficient energy. Read more »
Rural Development is the lead Federal agency that works to ensure that rural families have access to safe, well-built, affordable homes. In February 2012, the agency initiated a two-year, pilot refinancing program in 19 states hardest hit by the Nation’s housing downturn to help eligible USDA borrowers reduce their monthly housing costs.
Today, USDA announced that the program is expanding to include eligible rural residents in Puerto Rico, Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin. Read more »
Snow surveyors approach SNOTEL site on Mount Hood.
Koeberle’s job carries her over mountains by helicopter and horse, snowshoes and skis. She has encountered grizzly bears, avalanches and wolves and visited ridges that few people have seen.
Koeberle is a hydrologist and snow surveyor for USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and works on the agency’s snow survey team—a group of specially trained scientists who maintain snow gauges that are important to farmers, business owners and many other people in the West. Read more »
Dr. Terrie Benavidez Jain in wildland firefighting gear doing field work on the Boise Basin Experimental Forest in Idaho
With wildfires that raged out of control this fire season, a year of “devastating conflagrations” seems to be the only way to describe such massive destruction on the nation’s forested lands. And scientists who know something about limiting the power of these forest infernos are needed more than ever.
Lucky for us, Terrie Benavidez Jain, a U.S. Forest Service scientist, has answers to help reduce the impacts of fire on forested lands. In fact, researching and studying the science of forest fires is something Jain has come to know quite well throughout her impressive career. Read more »
Pacific Northwest Rappel Academy students practice their trade. US Forest Service photo.
Rappellers are firefighters who are delivered to remote and inaccessible wildfires by means of dropping down a rope from helicopters hovering 250 feet high.
Earlier this month over 50 veteran Forest Service rappellers throughout the West prepared for a new fire season with training and recertification classes in Oregon and Idaho. Read more »