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Feather River Bulletin
Quincy, California
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April 8, 2015     Feather River Bulletin
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April 8, 2015
 

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Bulletin, Record, Progressive, Reporter Wednesday, April 8, 2015 9B Whitman enjoys stint as Plumas National Forest supervisor Dan McDonald Managing Editor dmcdonald@plumasnews.com Debra Whitman is the kind of person that everyone wants on his or her team -- a professional with the skills and experience to frill any role at a moment,s notice.., and do the job well. That essentially describes Whitman's role as acting supervisor of the Plumas National Forest. "As Forest Service employees, there's plenty of opportunities to go frill in when there are vacancies," whitman said. "And so I'm like a lot of other employees, where we've done short assignments. To help out and go fill in those gaps until we get a permanent person in place, or whatever happens." In this case, whitman is filling in for PNF Supervisor Earl Ford and Deputy Supervisor Genny Wilson. Both Ford and Wilson are on extended assignments at the regional office in Vallejo. According to Forest Service Public Affairs Officer John Heft, Ford has been working on priority projects for the Pacific Southwest Region since the beginning of the year. Wilson is working on resource management .projects. In their absence, whitman, who is the director of ecosystem management in the regional office, is in charge of the Plumas forest. She arrived Feb. 6, but said she didn't know how long she would be here. "Probably through the end of April," whitman said, adding that she didn't know when or if Ford would be returning. This isn't the first time the experienced Whitman has fille d a key post on short notice. In 2011 she did a seven-month stint as acting supervisor on the Sequoia National Forest. Whitman's job as the Forest Service's director of ecosystem management makes her uniquely qualified to fill in when and where she's needed. When she's at her Vallejo office, the Humboldt County native is responsible for overseeing areas in all of the state's 18 national forests. Whitman, who has a degree in forestry from Humboldt State, is responsible for forest and range management; the wildlife, watershed, fisheries, botany, ecology and hydrology programs; and the minerals and geology program. Her wide-ranging duties have made her very well known and respected in the agency. It has also allowed Debra Whitman is the acting supervisor of the Plumas National Forest. She is filling in for Earl Ford, who has been on assignment at the regional office since the first of the year. Photo by Dan McDonald her to work with people in all of the forests. Whitman said she enjoys leaving the regional office to do ground-level work. "In the regional office, you are working a lot at the strategic level," Whitman said. "But you do have a tendency to lose touch with the day-to-day challenges that forest employees have. "To me, it's a great refresher to come out here and deal with folks trying to do the right thing, make good resource decisions and the challenges they face, and get reminded about how difficult" it is." Whitman said she has enjoyed her two months in the Quincy office. "There's a lot going on on this forest. And there's some really talented people here, working really hard trying to make stuff happen," Whitman said. She said the Plumas National Forest is gearing up for t'we season. "It's a high priority, because we need to get all of those temporary employees in place. And make sure that people are trained adequately and that we are prepared to go." In addition to the more than 400 full-time employees on the PNF, there will be 80 to 100 people hired for fn'e season. Whitman said that instead of one 20-person on-call fire crew, there will be two on-call creWs this season. Whitman said another priority is to get fire restoration work completed. "And so there's a lot of folks that are working full time to try to make a move forward with that," she said. "Another priority is all the other ecological restoration projects we have going and are trying to get done across the forest," she said. "Everything from commercial thinning, to fuels treatment, to watershed restoration. There's a lot of work going on." Whitman said PNF crews are preparing for the recreational season by working on the campgrounds and trailheads. In a Forest Service career that began on the Six Rivers Forest, Whitman has worked in Pennsylvania, Arizona, Montana, Alaska, Washington, D.C., and, in a five-year stint, Georgia. But she said some of the most talented people she's worked with are on the Plumas National Forest. "We have a job to do as a federal employee. And we've got some very talented people trying to do that job," she said. O'Brien returns Chris O'Brien, who has spent time working on the Plumas National Forest, returned Monday to fill Genny Wilson's post as acting deputy forest supervisor. O'Brien transferred from the Lassen National Forest where he was the public services officer. Plumas National Forest getting ready for the summer season Plumas National Forest has shared the following announcements. North Fork Bridge replacement The North Fork Bridge and Forest Service Road 26N26 (Belden-Longville Road) will be closed from April 13 to May 9 (planned completion) for bridge reconstruction to replace worn timber decking and bridge railing. Controlled traffic may be available earlier, if conditions permit. The bridge is located at the junction of 26N26 and Caribou Road (27N26). Alternate routes are recommended as no detour is available at the Site. Caribou Road will remain open; it is not affected by this closure. Contracted materials and labor were funded by Storrie Fire restoration monies. For more information about alternate access, contact the Mt. Hough Ranger District office at 283-0555. Campground host needed A volunteer campground host is needed for the 2015 camping season at the Forest Service-managed Little Grass Valley Reservoir complex of campgrounds, outside of La Porte. The recreation season begins in mid to late May and extends through October depending on the weather. Host duties include welcoming visitors upon arrival; posting daffy reservations at campsites; sharing news and information about the facility and recreation opportunities; educating visitors regarding rule compliance; and light campground maintenance. Hosts must have a self-contained RV or trailer and personal vehicle for transportation. The campground complex is within the Feather River Ranger District of the Plumas National Forest. For more information and an application, contact Mary Sullivan, public services staff officer, at 534-7460. Boat dock ready for use The dock at the Lost Cove boat launch at Antelope Lake is in the water and ready for use. There will be no fees until mid-May as the launch facility does not have trash and restroom services. Visitors should be prepared to pack out their trash and waste. Royal Elk Park Management will begin maintaining the facility in mid-May and continue through the end of September. Single-use fees are $7 during that period; regular visitors can obtain annual passes for $35 from REPM. For more information about Antelope Lake, nearby recreation opportunities or use by those with special needs, contact the Mt. Hough Ranger District office at 283-0555 or visit the forest website at fs.usda.gov/plumas. BREAKING NEWS!