The Ranger's Corner - Happy New Year!
Last updated 4/5/2023 at 10:04am
Happy New Year from all of us at the Sisters Ranger District!
We saw some amazing conservation work get accomplished last year, and we look forward to continuing that spirit of service in 2023.
One new project we are excited to begin is the Cougar Rock restoration project north of Sisters, near Stephens Canyon and Garrison Butte.
This is an important strategic location to keep wildfire out of Sisters and private inholdings close to city limits.
The project aims to reduce fuels through thinning, mowing, and prescribed burning on about 2,800 acres, as well as closing unauthorized trails and routes that fragment wildlife habitat.
We are accepting public comments regarding this project proposal until January 30 and are interested in what you all think about it.
Feel free to learn more about the project and submit feedback here: https://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=63319.
We are also soliciting comments until January 30 on a proposal to authorize tree and vegetation clearing along an 11-mile section of overhead powerline between Sisters and Black Butte Ranch.
More information is available here: https://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=63305.
Both the Cougar Rock restoration and the powerline clearing project align with the U.S. Forest Service’s 10-year wildfire crisis strategy, which aims to protect communities and critical infrastructure from uncharacteristic wildfire risk.
Another key element to that strategy is having a well-trained, safe, and effective wildfire responder workforce.
To that end, there is one more opportunity rapidly approaching to apply for temporary summer firefighter and other important jobs including dispatcher, recreation, timber, and wildlife across Central Oregon.
Applications will be accepted online from January 12 to 19.
See https://www.fs.usda.gov/working-with-us/jobs/temporary or call the Sisters Ranger Station for more information.
And if you are a student between 16 and 18 years old, please inquire about working outside on District projects this summer as part of a Heart of Oregon crew.
Winter is prime time for planning projects prior to the busy field season. We are engaging with stakeholders on a watershed restoration plan in the Indian Ford Watershed, a key tributary to Whychus Creek. We are also assessing adding new trails to our non-motorized trail system and will commence that public engagement process in the spring. We will also be partnering with the Homeless Leadership Council and Deschutes County to participate in the annual Point in Time count in late January to help inventory homeless activity and needs adjacent to Sisters.
Winter is also a busy time for outdoor recreation. A recent expedition to upper Three Creek Sno-Park revealed a mix of happy snowmobilers, Nordic skiers, and snowshoers. And between our front office staff and our local vendors, almost 3,500 Christmas tree permits were sold around the holidays. That’s a lot of happy families creating lasting memories on their public lands.
We have had several staffing changes recently on the Sisters Ranger District.
Lauren DuRocher has accepted a promotion as supervisory natural resource team leader.
Chris Bogan has taken over as the District silviculturist.
Luke Garcia was promoted to the fuels planner while Jeremy Gottfried accepted a promotion as the fuels battalion chief.
Ryan Gregg has accepted the fire operations specialist and Neil Fair the wildland fire module captain.
We wish Sommer Moyer a fond farewell as she moves on to a virtual promotion and thank her for her 13 years of commitment as the District special use permit administrator.
And we congratulate Bill Ham, a land surveyor who has hiked hundreds of miles of boundary line in Central Oregon, as he retires after 46 years of federal service!
Finally, all of us at the Sisters Ranger District wish Nancy Connolly the best as she retires from Sisters City Council (The Nugget, December 20). Her steady leadership on many partnerships between the City of Sisters and Forest Service was key to their success.
Take care, and we hope 2023 finds you well.