I took a forestry class during my college career in which we analyzed the U.S. Wilderness Act of 1964. The Wilderness Act strictly protects areas that our federal government has deemed as a pristine and untrammeled environment. This class taught me the ins and outs of this extremely important piece of legislation and also extended to us the Forest Service Chiefs’ Ten Year Wilderness Stewardship Challenge. We worked one on one with U.S. Forest Service and other public agency staff on specific projects that needed to be completed in order to satisfy requirements of the challenge. Several examples of these requirements are communicating with the public, managing busy recreation areas, and controlling invasive species. This page details the work that I did with a student group and our forest service manager on a regional volunteer manual.
Meeting the Ten-Year Wilderness Stewardship Challenge: Year 3
FOR 445 – Wilderness Management, Fall 2012 – School of Forestry
A report prepared for the U. S. Forest Service
FOR 445 – Wilderness Management Students
Dr. Marty Lee, Instructor
Northern Arizona University
The focus of this year’s Wilderness Management class projects was to continue to work on projects designed to meet the Forest Service’s 10-Year Stewardship Challenge. The goal of the 10-Year Wilderness Challenge is to bring all wilderness areas managed by the U.S. Forest Service to a minimum stewardship level by 2014, the 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act. The Wilderness Challenge includes ten key elements (USDA Forest Service Wilderness Stewardship brochure):
- fire managers consider a full range of responses with the goal of restoring natural fire
- invasive plants are successfully treated
- air quality trends are measured
- priority actions identified in a wilderness education plan are implemented
- opportunities for solitude or primitive and unconfined recreation are protected
- recreation site inventory is completed
- outfitter/guides model wilderness practices and incorporate appreciation for wilderness values to clients
- adequate direction exists to protect wilderness character
- information needs are met
- baseline workforce is in place
Four projects were selected in collaboration with Forest Service managers from the Coconino National Forest that would meet at least one of the 10 elements of the Wilderness Challenge. Several of the projects expanded and refined projects developed by previous Wilderness Management class. This year’s projects focused on Wilderness education, developing a volunteer manual, monitoring Wilderness trail conditions, and monitoring Wilderness character. Our class worked with Forest Service advisors on each of the four projects. We particularly thank those team advisors who faithfully came to class to mentor, guide, and otherwise help the students complete their projects.
- Wilderness Education Plan – Not included in this report.
- Wilderness Volunteer Manual. This project involved looking at examples of volunteer manuals, talking with current wilderness volunteers, and working with the Peaks RD Volunteer Coordinator to develop a volunteer manual for use by agency staff and volunteers working in Wilderness. – addresses Elements 2, 6, and 10 of the Wilderness Challenge
- Humphreys Trail Monitoring – Not included in this report.
- Wilderness Character Monitoring – Not included in this report.
Each team had a team leader and at least one agency adviser. These mentors provided invaluable direction and input to the student teams. In addition to preparation of this report we held a final close-out meeting with agency managers and others to present the results of the project and deliver the final report.
ORGANIZATION OF THE REPORT
This document includes four chapters, one for each of the projects the class completed: Chapter 1: Wilderness Education Plan (Not Included) Chapter 2: Wilderness Volunteer Manual Team: Katelynn Jenkins (Team Leader), Buck Skowronek, Joseph Hill, Ryan Scott, and John Ehlen. Pat McGervey (USFS) and Justin Loxley (USFS), Advisors Chapter 3: Humphreys Trail Monitoring (Not Included) Chapter 4: Monitoring Wilderness Character (Not Included)
We would very much like to thank the Forest Service and Arizona Game & Fish managers and volunteers who provided useful information, suggestions, and guidance on these projects. Their willingness to come to class and work with students provided invaluable support and advice in the development, implementation, and write-up of the projects. We particularly thank Brian Poturalski, Jim McGeorge, Sean Murphy, Patrick McGervey, and Larry Phoenix. We have collaborated with the Forest Service and others on wilderness class projects for 12 years now. I look forward to continuing such successful collaborations!