USFS Update for June 2020
And Hello, welcome to your District Ranger Update June 2020. This is Elizabeth McNichols, from the Warm Springs and James River Districts of the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests. Thank you for the opportunity to share what happening on the districts.
Safety Message of the Day – The Forest Service is taking the risks presented by COVID-19 seriously and is following USDA and CDC public health guidance as we continue to offer services to the public. Visitors to our National Forests and Grasslands are urged to take the precautions recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). There are three official, government-wide sources of up-to-date information about the coronavirus:
www.Coronavirus.gov www.CDC.gov/coronavirus and www.USA.gov/coronavirus
District Happenings – The USDA Forest Service will repair Campbell Hollow Road FSR 281 starting in June with scheduled completion by August 2020. Repairs to Rogers Road FSR 345 and Jerry’s Run Road FSR 69 will begin this summer with a completion date expected in the next six months.
Recreation Update –
We understand that there is a lot of interest in re-opening the sites in the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests that were temporarily shut down. All re-openings will consider health and safety recommendations, including state-wide orders, employee safety, and the
availability of personal protective equipment and trained personnel, as reflected in CDC, state, and local guidance. We appreciate your patience. For status updates about our facilities and recent press releases please check www.fs.usda.gov/gwj
District NEWS: Our districts have extraordinary employees who are true public servants. This month I want to introduce our new forestry technician Henry Barden. Henry is a graduate of Bath County High School. Soon after graduating, he joined the United States Army. During that time of service, he was assigned to and deployed numerous times with the army’s 75th Ranger
Regiment. After separating from the service, he started his education at Dabney S. Lancaster Community College in the forestry program and then utilized his GI Bill to attend the University of Montana, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Resource Conservation. During summers in Montana, Henry began his career with the Forest Service, as a wildland firefighter with the Helena Hotshot crew. Henry has now returned to Bath County to further his career with the forest service.
Habitat Message – Have you seen any loons lately. The common loon (Gavia immer) has by now started their trek north for the summer. In Spring we did see a large group at Lake Moomaw swimming and fishing together. In the winter, loons do not have their typical black-and-white checkered back, iridescent black head and neck, black bill, red eyes, and a prominent white “necklace”. In winter they have molted and the Loon is dark gray above with a white breast and belly, and the bill is light gray, with eyes dull to a deep reddish-brown. You will know they are loons by the way they fish and their ability to stay underwater for long periods of time. Oftentimes you will see a loon dive and come up in the water over 100 yards from where you last saw them. You will not see loons on land, except during breeding and nesting season when they lay 1 to 2 eggs in areas including Canada; the northern United States and Alaska; and southern parts of Greenland and Iceland. Their feet are set way in the back of the body which makes walking difficult. Both male and female look alike, though males are significantly heavier than females, they mate for life and both participate in hatching and caring for their young. Be sure to keep an eye out for them when they return this winter to Virginia.
Ranger Goodbye – This is my last radio program in the role of district ranger. I am retiring from the US Forest Service. For 38 years I have served the American people. I started my career in 1981 on my birthday. I have dedicated many hours, days, and years of my life to the agency, caring for the land, and serving the people. It has been an honor to serve the people of the United States. It is a privilege to work with some of the most amazing people I have ever met. I have had the opportunity to live and work in some of the most beautiful places in the country including this beautiful part of the Appalachian Mountains. I am so grateful for the kindness and hospitality the community has bestowed on me. This beautiful place we call home will always be in my heart. I wish you happiness, health, safety, and a life filled with love, kindness, and compassion. Blessings to you all.
Today’s quote comes from American poet Emily Dickinson, “How strange that nature does not knock, and yet does not intrude!”
For Alleghany Mountain Radio, this is Elizabeth McNichols