May 18 - November 4 Project Leader: Anna Hendricks Email: email@example.com Phone: (208) 608-6325
After weeks of training and introductions the team of three, including the Forest Service lesion Laura Peterson, has finally gotten out into the field for the first plots of the season! Despite the slow start and a minor setback because of the loss of a corps member, the team hit the ground running. Traveling anywhere in SW Utah takes lots of time, therefore, the team has been spending nights at the Dave’s Hollow Guard Station in order to cut down time wasted traveling. The team has been enjoying the seclusion and proximity to their work sites the guard station provides despite the bugs and lack of running water from time to time.
When the team needed a break from plots they had the opportunity to go on field trips with some of the forest’s specialists.
Keith Gustafson, the Powel District forester, was able to spend an afternoon showing the team what his job involves and also provided help with identifying trees. Keith is a very entertaining guide and really improved the team’s understanding of the relations between the different divisions of the Forest Service, such as the timber and fire programs.
One other trip was taken with the archeologist out of the Cedar Ranger District, Marian “Omar” Jacklin. Omar took the team to some awesome cultural sites such as the Parowan Gap, Old Iron Town, dinosaur tracks, and other petroglyph sites. The walls of the Parowan Gap are covered with archaic, post-archaic, and semi-modern petroglyphs. The most famous of the petroglyphs was the “zipper” which depicts the sun’s movement through the gap over the year. The crew’s visit happened to fall on the summer solstice when the sun was to set right down the middle of the gap exhibiting a brilliant sunset. Omar was an awesome guide and plans to take the team on more field trips later on in the season.
The other specialist the team had the opportunity to visit was the Dixie and Fish Lake Botanist, Mark Madsen. Mark and his seasonal, John, took the team around the Powel District to help identify many of the unknown annuals and shrubs at all different elevations. Mark explained what his job required of him and why his studies are useful to the forest.
At the end of the team’s first four day hitch they had the opportunity to help with the Smokey Bear balloon at the Panguitch Balloon Festival. The team was disappointed on their first day of the Balloon Festival because “high” winds postponed Smokey’s maiden flight of the weekend. On Saturday Smokey finally got to fly as the SCAs were part of his chase team. Bill, Smokey’s pilot, landed in a field of freshly sprayed hay which was not amusing to the field’s owner to say the least. Saturday night was the Panguitch balloon glow where all the balloons lined the main street at dusk showing a brilliant display of colors and lights. Sunday, Anna got to go up in Smokey after beating Doug in a fierce rock paper scissors game. Julia Sittig, a SCA from Yuma came up for the weekend and helped out with the Smokey crew for the last day.
So far the team has had an awesome experience and is looking forward to the arrival of the new team member, Michael “Fred” Young, on the 5th of July.
Update courtesy of Smokey Chaser extraordinaire: Doug Whitbeck