Chimney Rock National Monument in Colorado. Forest Service photo
Quietly waiting for you in our national forests and grasslands are what remains of long past civilizations and cultures. Some of these sites still have direct spiritual or cultural meaning to folks today while others are a complete mystery of what once was of a vanished people. Yet, in both cases, the adventurer is reminded of the centuries-old relationship between people and the land.
It’s this relationship between land and people that gives the U.S. Forest Service such pride in knowing that we protect these irreplaceable symbols that ancient peoples left to us. These near mystical treasures can be found from the Olympic National Forest in Washington State to the Dakota Prairie Grasslands of North Dakota to the George Washington and Jefferson National Forest of Virginia. Read more »
The daunting task of removing a fallen tree on the Olympic National Forest is best tackled with a partner. Two Washington Trails Association members work together using a cross-cut saw, which takes special training and a fine touch. (Courtesy Meg MacKenzie/Washington Trails Association)
The crosscut saw, once a symbol for conquering the wild forests of the west in order to provide lumber for America’s cities, now endures as a symbol of wilderness preservation in our national forests.
The crosscut saw reached prominence in the United States between 1880 and 1930, but quickly became obsolete when power saws started being mass produced. The passage of the Wilderness Act in 1964 has helped restore the dying art of primitive tool use by effectively requiring their use in wilderness trail maintenance. Read more »
A fall dusting hints that winter is coming to the high country at Charlia Pass in the Buckhorn Wilderness on the Olympic National Forest. The pass offers breathtaking views of Mt. Constance, Del Monte Ridge and Charlie Lake. (U.S. Forest Service)
As I reach the pinnacle of this stretch of trail my heart is racing, my calves are burning, and my face is dripping with perspiration. I feel strong. I remove the pack from my aching shoulders and grab my water bottle. I am refreshed as I gulp it down. This is sweet mountain water that will eventually trickle down to taps in the city below. Up here, it’s clear and icy cold and the only type of water I have consumed during my five-day wilderness experience.
I lower the bottle from my mouth to admire my accomplishments. The top of the mountain pass has rewarded me with spectacular views of surrounding peaks. I feel alone, but not forlorn. I unravel the contents of my pack and begin to set up my final camp. Read more »
U.S. Forest Service biologist Betsy Howell is highlighted in Faces of the Forest, a special feature by the agency. (Courtesy Betsy Howell)
Betsy Howell has a professional and personal interest in conserving two diverse parts of U.S. history.
As a wildlife biologist on the Olympic National Forest in Washington State she focuses part of her work on the history and future of the fisher, a member of the weasel family considered threatened and endangered.
As a Civil War re-enactor and author, she works to preserve an integral part of our history as a nation. Read more »
Mother’s Day is just around the corner and most of us have yet to find that “perfect” gift for mom. But don’t panic. Let the U.S. Forest Service help out.
You read that right. The Forest Service wants you to give mom the gift of nature in all its innate perfection. And all you need to do is take her to your nearest national forest or grasslands.
For instance, if you live in Washington State, the Olympic National Forest, with its dramatic mountain range, conjures up images of the European Alps. The beauty doesn’t end there, though. The Olympics’ varied landscape includes lush rain forests, deep canyons, high mountain ridges and ocean beaches. Taking mom on a drive through this incomparable backdrop would be a scenic tour to brighten her day. Read more »
Jeff Penman, an area measurement specialist from the US Forest Service's Pacific Northwest Regional office, stands atop the stump of an old-growth tree felled illegally in Olympic National Forest. The tree was estimated to be at least 300 years old. Photo/U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Washington.
Thanks to a lengthy investigation led by U.S. Forest Service law enforcement personnel, a Washington man has been convicted of stealing timber and damaging trees worth more than $250,000 from the Olympic National Forest in Washington state. Read more »