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Thread: Forest Service: Solitude Monitoring

  1. #1
    Ranger OakAshandThorn's Avatar
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    Forest Service: Solitude Monitoring

    One of the techniques the Forest Service uses to better manage wilderness areas is through "solitude monitoring", which is part of my work duties here in Missouri as a Wilderness Ranger intern. This involves in-field research of investigating different zones (transition, remote, and pristine) within designated wilderness areas to record statistics such as visitor encounters, camp encounters, and so forth. It's a bit lengthy to explain in full detail, but essentially this is a way of keeping track of the potential impact for solitude opportunities. According to the Wilderness Act of 1964, a wilderness area should have "outstanding opportunities for solitude or a primitive and unconfined type of recreation...", and "be administered for the use and enjoyment of the American people in such a manner as will leave them unimpaired for future use and enjoyment as wilderness, and so as to provide for the protection of these areas, the preservation of their wilderness character...".



    What this means for Wilderness Rangers is a lot of time spent in the good 'ol outdoors, and getting to see, preserve and protect this nation's wild places. As I am an intern via the Student Conservation Association, this is something I'll only get to do for my 6 month internship; yet there is so much do so and seemingly little time to do it. But who knows what the future holds?...the more I do this, the more I see my efforts take root and grow.

    All that said, I'd like to share with you the things people like me in the field of wilderness conservation get to see and experience.

    Welcome to......



    My monitoring zone for the day consisted of a short 2 mile stretch. Per Forest Service protocol, I get to spend a minimum of 4 hours of monitoring in each zone .




    The dotted trail running north-south on the map is the Ozark Trail, part of the Taum Sauk section.

    Enjoy the views...








    Some of the flora....



    Low-bush blueberry, a sign of acid soil.




    Fire Pink, its petals reminiscent of bursting fireworks.




    Wild Bee-balm, yet to bloom.




    I presume that this plant (in the centre with the big leaves) is Cheeses, or Common Mallow. I've only seen smaller Cheeses plants back East.




    This is a rather flashy-looking Wood Sorrel. There are 7 species in the continental US...this one is Oxalis violacea, or Violet wood Sorrel.




    This is Bird-Foot/Narrow-Leaved Violet amongst a cluster of Virginia Creeper. It is easily distinguished from other violets due to it's finely lobed and palmate leaves


    Some unknown plants...








    And here are two wildlife close-ups....



    A cute but shy Box Turtle.




    Turkey Vultures soaring in the wind overhead.

    On a final note, whilst there are some great wilderness areas out there, some of them have become popular, and therefore endure more visitor impact. Do your part in helping preserve these places by practicing Leave No Trace camping and following the regulations. Plan ahead and be self-reliant - there is a lot of rugged country in the wilderness. And if you are fortunate enough to live near a designated wilderness area, consider volunteering for the agency that manages it.



    “There is just one hope of repulsing the tyrannical ambition of civilization to conquer every inch on the whole Earth. That hope is the organization of spirited people who will fight for the freedom and preservation of wilderness.” ~ Bob Marshall
    Last edited by OakAshandThorn; 06-05-2016 at 02:27 PM. Reason: oooooops piccy code not working :/
    My blog, New England Bushcraft

    "Give me six hours to chop down a tree, and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe."
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  2. #2
    Natural Born Bushcrafter Woody's Avatar
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    Another awesome post.
    I read up on the website links that you provided on the previous post, it says that , on that specific mountain ( bell mountain) you can shoot a hog on sight ...

    Due to their destructive behaviour...

    So...free food too?!! That place is amazing.


    Also, the Bob Marshall quote is great, thank you for sharing

  3. #3
    Tribesman
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    Nice post OAT, fantastic habitat.
    Your pic of Turkey vultures, brought back fond memories of my first sightings. One of the first of that genus I encountered
    Nobody wins, unless everybody wins

  4. #4
    Ranger Ehecatl's Avatar
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    "If you were to ask me what I consider to be my finest achievement, I could answer the question without hesitation: teaching." ~ Raymond Blanc.

  5. #5
    Ranger OakAshandThorn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woody View Post
    Another awesome post.
    I read up on the website links that you provided on the previous post, it says that , on that specific mountain ( bell mountain) you can shoot a hog on sight ...

    Due to their destructive behaviour...

    So...free food too?!! That place is amazing.


    Also, the Bob Marshall quote is great, thank you for sharing
    Yep, you can eat all the wild bacon you want
    My blog, New England Bushcraft

    "Give me six hours to chop down a tree, and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe."
    ~ Abraham Lincoln

    "Be prepared, not scared."
    ~ Cody Lundin

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