fall, juniors and seniors in Forest Recreation Resources come together
for a Field school to work with resource managers on their territory
so that we might better understand current issues in the broad field
of recreation. Another important purpose of this class is to strengthen
friendships between students. I participated in the 10-day field
school this year.
Led by instructor Mark Reed, we traveled through northeastern
Oregon and Idaho and into Utah, where we spent five days in Escalante
working with Maile Adler and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).
Our project was to build a pole fence and floodgate from lodgepole
pine and juniper to exclude cattle from the Grand Staircase-Escalante
For our five days in Escalante, we camped at a group campsite
at the Petrified Forest State Park. The second day in town, we met
at BLM headquarters and got the scoop on what our project would
be like. That morning we loaded supplies onto a trailer and into
the bed of a pickup. From there we went to the worksite and unloaded
the materials. We finished the day off by celebrating a student’s
birthday at the Cowboy Blues restaurant.
The following day (September 11) our
group was split in two. This made it so that a smaller number of
students could recreate and observe management issues on the monument
and stay within the group number requirements to be in
the backcountry areas of the monument.
Each day the groups would alternate activities. The smaller of the
two groups (the group I was in) spent the morning at the fence project.
Upon learning of the terrorist attacks on the East Coast, we went
back to BLM Headquarters where employees were getting ready to go
home. “Field School is over,” we were told, because there would
be no one left to supervise our project. We spent the day listening
to the radio and catching glimpses of the events on a small and
fuzzy television in the gas station’s mini mart.
There were a lot of tough decisions to be made before we would
be home. The consensus, however, was to stay in Escalante, where
we had friends in the BLM. We feared that if we rushed home and
the terrorist activities escalated, we might have been stuck on
the road somewhere in Nevada or California. The next day we heard
that government employees were to “return to work as usual”. This
put us back on track and allowed us to finish the fence and carry
out the rest of our activities. We completed the project in three
days, leaving us lots of time to enjoy ourselves in a spectacular
Junior, Forest Recreation Resources
Author Kate Pryor, above left,
with friends at Peek-A-Boo slot canyon, Grand Staircase- Escalante,
and Fiery Furnace, Arches, Utah.