The State of the Nation’s Forests

Forests are constantly changing with weather, disturbance, and conversion to other land uses, but how do we know if year-to-year changes are just a one-off or part of a larger shift? Annual summaries of forest health are key to our understanding, say the editors and authors that produced Forest Health Monitoring: National Status, Trends, and Analysis 2017. Scientists...

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Forest Service apologizes for damage to Appalachian Trail during patrols of pipeline protests

The U.S. Forest Service apologized for damaging the Appalachian Trail with all-terrain vehicles during its patrols of a pipeline protest. In a news release, the agency admitted that its law enforcement officers used the ATVs from April 11 to April 30 on a short stretch of the scenic footpath that follows the ridgeline of Peters Mountain in the Jefferson National Forest...

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Fire funding fix comes with environmental rollbacks

Congress accomplished something unprecedented last week: They passed a bipartisan solution to a knotty budget issue that has hobbled the U.S. Forest Service’s ability to do restoration and fire-prevention work in Western forests. The $1.3 trillion federal spending package included a long-sought funding fix for wildfire response. Starting in 2020, the Forest Service will...

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Omnibus spending bill would increase funding for national parks and wildfire suppression

The spending bill passed by the House and Senate on March 22, 2018 would increase funding the National Park Service needs to address its nearly $12 billion maintenance and repair backlog. Under the proposal the Park Service would receive a 9 percent increase to its budget. The measure includes about $160 million to make repairs that would help growing numbers of visitors...

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Graphene is the most conductive material on earth; it could charge a cell phone in just five seconds.

Measuring one million times less than the width of a human hair, graphene is harder than diamonds and 200 times stronger than steel. Small, strong, and flexible, it is the most conductive material on earth and has the potential to charge a cell phone in just five seconds or to upload a terabit of data in one. It can be used to filter salt from water, develop...

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Former Senator’s Wyoming Ranch Purchased for National Forest

The Bridger-Teton National Forest has acquired a sprawling former ranch that had been the largest remaining private inholding along the Upper Gros Ventre River valley in northwest Wyoming. The $3 million purchase of the 990-acre property roughly 30 miles east of Jackson was recently announced by the U.S. Forest Service and The Trust For Public Land. The land had been...

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Parts of national forest closed for Mountain Valley Pipeline construction

The U.S. Forest Service says it is closing parts of the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests in Virginia and West Virginia as construction begins on the Mountain Valley Pipeline. The department issued an emergency closure order affecting land in Giles County and Montgomery County in Virginia, and Monroe County in West Virginia. According to a release from the...

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Save our national forests with a simple fire funding fix

  It should be a simple nonpartisan fix to a budgeting issue that every year strips the U.S. Forest Service of its ability to adequately manage millions of acres of federal land and the trails, roads and structures that allow Americans to enjoy their forests. Instead, for more than two decades the issue has eluded common sense, mired in an unnecessary proxy...

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Forest Service turns to volunteers for trail repair

The U.S. Forest Service hopes to double the workload of its volunteer helpers as it attacks a backlog of trail maintenance largely in Montana. The Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex’s 3,200 miles of trail arrived No. 1 on a Forest Service priority list for trail work. So did the Continental Divide Scenic Trail; its largest segment passes through Montana. And the Central...

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Funding tightens for Vermont’s Long Trail caretakers

Hugh and Jean Joudry have spent the last fifty summers atop Stratton Mountain, and the couple, now in their seventies, aren’t planning to descend any time soon. While their tenure at the mountain’s summit began through the State of Vermont’s Fire Watch program in 1968, the two have watched over the peak as Green Mountain Club caretakers since the 1970s....

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USDA Secretary Announces Infrastructure Improvements for Forest System Trails

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced the selection of 15 priority areas to help address the more than $300 million trail maintenance backlog on national forests and grasslands. Focused trail work in these areas, bolstered by partners and volunteers, is expected to help address needed infrastructure work so that trails managed by USDA Forest Service can be...

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Retired U.S. Forest Service employee fights for the future of trees

The lush beauty of the George Washington National Forest in Virginia is apparent to any visitor, but especially to the keen eye of retired U.S. Forest Service employee Brian Stout. During a 34-year career with the Forest Service, Stout had many assignments, including a final one as the forest supervisor of the 3.5 million acre Bridger-Teton National Forest in Wyoming. On...

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Visiting Hanging Lake? You may need to plan ahead

The U.S. Forest Service has released a draft of the environmental assessment of its proposed plan for visitor management of the popular Hanging Lake near Glenwood Springs. An iconic Colorado landmark, the lake in the White River National Forest is both a popular destination for hikers and photographers, along with being a spur-of-the-moment stop for people passing by on...

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Forest Service closes in on plan to protect Oregon wilderness areas from overuse

After eight months and more than 500 comments from Oregonians, the U.S. Forest Service is closing in on a proposal that could protect central Oregon’s most scenic areas from overuse. The Forest Service kicked off the project in the spring by holding public meetings to gauge interest in changing the way trails and campgrounds in five popular wilderness areas,...

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U.S. Forest Service increases leash-law enforcement in NC

Officials with the U.S. Forest Service remind the public that a dog leash law is in effect in North Carolina’s Pisgah National Forest, including roads and trails. Forest Service personnel have stepped up enforcement recently. Due to the area’s high popularity and intensive recreational use, unleashed dogs have become a safety issue, officials said in a news...

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Grandfather Restoration Collaborative Recognized for U.S. Forest Service Award

The Grandfather Ranger District of the Pisgah National Forest in North Carolina, and a collaborative group of partners from the community, non-profits, and local and state groups have received the 2017 Restored and Resilient Landscapes Award from the U.S. Forest Service Southern Region. Since 2012, the Grandfather Restoration Collaborative has been working on restoration...

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Forest Service Report Assesses the State of U.S. Forest Health

Insects, diseases, droughts, and fire threaten forests. Each year, the U.S. Forest Service assesses threats facing the nation’s forests. Forest managers, scientists, and decision-makers rely on the annual reports. The U.S. Forest Service Southern Research Station recently published the 2016 Forest Health Monitoring report. The report is the 16th in the annual series, and...

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Tony Tooke Is New Forest Service Chief

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced Tony Tooke will serve as the new Chief of the U.S. Forest Service. Tooke has worked for the Forest Service since age 18 and currently is the Regional Forester for the Southern Region. He is responsible for 3,100 employees, an annual budget exceeding $400 million, 14 national forests, and two managed areas, which...

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Meet the woman who designs Colorado’s highest trails

What do you see when you look at a trail? Dirt and rocks? A line sketched across the landscape by 100,000 footsteps? The adventure of some not-yet-visible lake or summit or cirque? Master Forest Service trail designer Loretta McEllhiney sees those things, too. But she also believes that a good trail is about controlling two unstoppable forces: People flowing up a...

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What you need to know about wildfire safety

Wildfire season is approaching fast. Poor air quality that limits athletic activity, the devastation of the places where we play, the release of climate change-causing carbons into our atmosphere, the economic impact on rural communities… these terrifying consequences are just some of the negative effects of forest fires. Unfortunately, wildfires are only just increasing...

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American Chestnuts in the Field

By the 1950s, two non-native pathogens had killed almost all American chestnut trees. “There’s a lot of interest in breeding a chestnut that looks like American chestnut with the disease resistance of Chinese chestnut,” says U.S. Forest Service research forester Stacy Clark. “However, there hasn’t been much research on reintroducing disease-resistant trees to the...

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U.S. Forest Service to Hold Open Houses on Pisgah & Nantahala Forest Plan Revision

The U.S. Forest Service will hold open houses across the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests from late June to early August, 2017 to provide the public with opportunities to talk with Forest Service staff about local issues, district projects, and the Nantahala and Pisgah Forest Plan revision. “Public attendance at meetings like these helps us to understand your...

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Forest Service seeks input on trail maintenance priorities

The U.S. Forest Service Pacific Northwest Region is inviting the public to help identify trails that will be part of an effort with partners and volunteers to increase the pace of trail maintenance. Nationwide, the Forest Service will select nine to 15 priority areas among its nine regions where a backlog in trail maintenance contributed to reduced access, potential harm...

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The hands behind the Forest Service’s iconic signs

Inside a storage room at the Forest Service’s Flagstaff Ranger District headquarters, shelves, floorspace and tabletops are crammed with wooden signs. Simple and sturdy, the signs are hand carved with messages marking everything from trails and riparian areas to places closed to camping or motorized vehicles. But these signs, rich in historic character, wouldn’t exist...

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FAQ: The effects of WNC’s 2016 fall fire season

Did the fires hurt wildlife? The impact will unlikely be large enough to affect overall populations, and long-term the fires will result in a flush of green in the understory that will ultimately benefit wildlife. Will the fires increase the chance of flooding and landslides? With more than a month elapsed since the report’s Dec. 12 completion and multiple heavy rains in...

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Citizen Scientists Invited To Document Biodiversity on Kaibab National Forest

The U.S. Forest Service wants visitors to the Kaibab to snap photos of plants and animals and submit them to an online database. The project will run throughout 2017. Mark Christiano, GIS coordinator, says participants need to download a free app called iNaturalist. “It automatically collects a lot of the data for us,” he explains. “So for example, you’re not just...

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Stay Safe in the Woods this Winter

The U.S. Forest Service encourages visitors to the National Forests of North Carolina to use caution when recreating this winter because of additional hazards in the woods. Natural settings have inherent risks and winter weather can increase the danger. Falling trees and branches are an ever-present hazard; the addition of snow and ice makes tree failure more likely....

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Congress passes bill to improve trail maintenance and preservation

Congress sent a bill to President Obama that would improve access to America’s National Forests through better trail maintenance and preservation. The National Forest System Trails Stewardship Act would make better use of existing resources within the Forest Service to significantly increase the role of volunteers and partners in maintaining the usability and...

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Drought, Fire, and Forests

More than 6,300 firefighters from all over the U.S have been fighting forest fires that have now burned more than 119,000 acres in eight states across the Southeast, some of which have burned for over a month. The low humidity and lack of rain for more than three months in some areas has provided what Adam Rondeau from the inter-agency Southern Area Coordination Center...

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Joint Information Center Opens to Provide NC Wildfire Information

A joint information center is now open to provide timely and accurate information about wildfires in western North Carolina and related issues. This one-stop information center will provide the public with updates on wildfires, evacuations and shelters, road and trail closures, air quality, current burning restrictions, and the schedule for public meetings for wildfires....

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Colville National Forest looking to fill 50 seasonal jobs

The Colville National Forest is looking to fill 50 seasonal jobs in northeast Washington for next summer. Forest officials are going so far as to hold workshops to help applicants fill out forms. Applications must be submitted online at usajobs.gov from Nov. 15-21, 2016. Selections will be made from Feb. 13-17, 2017. Jobs would start anywhere from mid-April to mid-June,...

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Forest Service Asheville Office Temporarily Closing for Renovations

The U.S. Forest Service will temporarily close the visitors lobby in its Asheville office on Zillicoa for renovations during the week of October 24, 2016. The office is expected to re-open October 31. During the closure, visitor services will be available at other U.S. Forest Service offices including: Appalachian Ranger District 632 Manor Road Mars Hill, NC 28754 (828)...

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