PORTLAND, Ore. (KTVZ) — The U.S. Forest Service’s Pacific Northwest Regional Forester announced the recipients of the region’s 2021 Volunteer and Service Awards last week. In all, seven individuals and four organizations are being recognized for their outstanding contributions through volunteer service, said Glenn Casamassa, regional forester for the Pacific Northwest.
“During National Volunteer Week. I want to thank all of our US Forest Service volunteers. I also want to give special thanks to our Regional Volunteers of the Year who were selected across the region for their dedication, commitment and contributions. Volunteers are a crucial source of support for national forests. Their time, skills and care they bring to the work of caring for America’s forests and grasslands are inspiring, and their efforts have a direct impact on our ability to provide service to the public,” Casamassa said.
In the Pacific Northwest, volunteers give hundreds of thousands of hours a year to help repair and maintain trails, clean up litter, provide educational and interpretive programs, host campgrounds, respond to search and rescue calls, participate in citizen science and improve public lands. .
Volunteers work directly with the federal agency and with nonprofit organizations that organize projects in direct support of the agency’s work. In 2021, more than 10,700 volunteers and service participants provided more than 444,000 hours of service, worth more than $12.6 million in Washington and Oregon alone. Collectively, this represented more than 12% of the total volunteer service hours recorded by the Forest Service in fiscal year 2021.
Despite the ongoing challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Forest Service engaged more than 66,000 volunteers and service participants across the country in fiscal year 2021. Together, volunteers provided more than 3.5 million hours of service, worth more than $103 million – the equivalent of the work of 2,017 full-time employees – to enhance the visitor experience, manage public lands and support global conservation of forests and grasslands.
The following individuals and organizations were recognized for their contributions to the public through volunteer service in support of the U.S. Forest Service and the Pacific Northwest National Forests and Grasslands in fiscal year 2021.
For a sustainable service
Andy Goodwin was recognized for his volunteer work in support of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest and Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument in Washington. Goodwin has been a volunteer with Mount St. Helens Institute’s Mountain Stewards program since 2016. During that time, he has accumulated over 2,500 volunteer hours. In 2021, he climbed Mount St. Helens 43 times and wrote a “traveling report” for each ascent.
David Alward is a longtime volunteer in the Deschutes and Willamette National Forests, both in Oregon. He has dedicated his time and effort as an individual and a member of several clubs and organizations since 2014. During that time, he has contributed over 31,300 hours of service to the agency. David has made it his personal mission to ensure that all wilderness trailheads, trail junctions, and boundary signs in the Three Sisters wilderness areas (including Mt. Jefferson, Diamond Peak, and Mt. Washington) are in place and maintained in good condition, and is a leader in training and implementing wilderness trail clearing for the Three Sisters area.
Rick HurdThe extraordinary knowledge and engaging manner of enhanced visitors’ experience while helping them make strong connections to nature and Oregon’s unique volcanic topography while visiting Newberry National Volcanic Monument, located in the Deschutes National Forest. Since 2015, Rick has provided his expertise to support policy changes that preserve local wilderness areas, encourage sustainable use and provide exceptional customer service.
Bob Johnson has volunteered in the Snoqualmie District Ranger with the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest in Washington for more than 15 years and has contributed an average of 650 hours per year in each of the past five years. Johnson is involved with the summer ranger and winter snowshoe programs – conducting education, training and field day programs for volunteers, and generally being the go-to person for everything the program has to offer. volunteers need.
Steven Barham oversaw a complete overhaul of the Cape Perpetua Visitor Center in Oregon’s Siuslaw National Forest during the COVID-19 pandemic. Barham’s contributions included building a gift shop display, constructing a new connecting podium, creating 17 new exhibits, and fabricating eight router-carved wooden panels for the scenic area National Cape Perpetua. Barham was also recognized for providing excellent customer service while volunteering even when the Visitor Center was closed, helping visitors find trailheads and special features along the coastline, and sharing safety messages.
the Back Country Horsemen of America – Grays Harbor Chapter formed in 1999 and has 123 active members in Elma, Washington, the southern gateway to the Olympic National Forest and Olympic National Park. The chapter has adopted and continuously maintained the 20-mile West Fork Humptulips Trail system since 2007. Chapter members have also worked with regional Forest Service staff to develop a new safety program, which is now being implemented at national scale.
Stacey Cochran manages the Deschutes National Forest and Ochoco National Forest and Crooked River National Grassland combined volunteer labor and career path program of more than 3,000 participants to support the mission and capacity of the l agency to work on these Oregon landscapes. Cochran is credited with increasing the number of internships on the Ochoco and Deschutes by 166%, and facilitating career development workshops and partnerships that allow four to six interns to become Forest Service employees each year.
the White River Forest Protection Association (WRFPA) was officially formed as a 501c.3 organization in 2018 and has been instrumental in Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest’s efforts to maintain a clean and healthy foreland and landscape in the district. by Snoqualmie Ranger. With an average contribution of over 1,000 volunteer hours per year since 2018, WRFPA members contributed 1,601 volunteer hours to the Snoqualmie Ranger District Highway 410 Corridor in fiscal year 2021, including organized garbage clean-up, sign installation and maintenance. Volunteers also supported the local office in Enumclaw, Washington, providing a positive and responsive volunteer presence to assist visitors and Forest Service personnel.
For citizen stewardship and partnerships
the Gifford Pinchot Trash Force started as informal groups of volunteers going out to clean up trash on and around the Gifford Pinchot National Forest, and grew into an established organization that entered into a volunteer service agreement with the forest service. In 2021, the group conducted more than 20 citizen cleanup patrols on and around the Cowlitz Valley Ranger District of the Forest, partnered with a military veterans organization to further increase their capacity, and worked with a company local sanitation service to increase the recycling of found objects and materials. on the forest during clean-up events.
Gary Meyer volunteers with the Central Oregon Trail Alliance (COTA) in the Deschutes National Forest, where he helped increase the alliance’s effectiveness as a volunteer organization. He has built, maintained and mapped out road bike trails, sawmilled and contributed to trail planning and management efforts in a way that will continue to benefit the forest for years to come. As well as being an excellent mentor and trainer for volunteers and staff, Meyer is credited with doing all of the mapping and much of the route planning, initial marking, and creating GPS coordinates for over fifty proposed trail projects.
For cultural diversity
the Vamanos Children’s Outdoor Forest Program hosted culturally specific programs and events such as rafting, camping, and outdoor early childhood literacy programs to help connect LatinX youth and communities with the outdoors in the Deschutes National Forests and of Ochoko. The organization’s programming reached more than 244 people during the last fiscal year. Hispanics and LatinXs made up 17.1 percent of the U.S. population in 2010, but accounted for just 5.7 percent of forest visitors, according to the National Forest Visitor Use Monitoring program survey the same year.