Our forests are owned by all of us. However, not all of the 294,275 square miles of our national forest lands are easily reached by the everyday person’s vehicle. The construction and maintenance of access roads is paramount to ensuring, you guessed it, access, to these lands. This task is accomplished in part by a team of engineering technicians that I’m proud to say I’m one of. This team identifies hazards and obstacles that would impede travel on lesser used roads and ensures that the infrastructure of the forest remains healthy.
Points of lower elevation create travel hazards by easily pooling water that can stick around well after any rainfall.
Once hazards have been identified, usually spots where erosion of the original road design create low spots where water can accumulate, they are marked with a stake detailing the prescribed work that would fix said obstruction along with the most beautiful ribbon you ever did see right on top.
This particular stake indicates the mile point into the road that it is located at along with a description of work to be done at this point. In this case, a 4 inch layer of limerock will be laid from this point until 60 tons of rock have been used.
The bright pink ribbon allows for easy identification of a marker, even to those with impaired vision or colorblindness. It also just looks nice. Once this task has been completed a whole bunch of super blog friendly paperwork, finance spreadsheet creation, and contract writing commences that eventually culminates into a beautiful stretch of unpaved goodness that even your grandma’s Caddy could cruise through!
Being able to learn alongside the fantastic team in Apalachicola, Florida has been an amazing opportunity that I’ll never forget. Each week provides a new and exciting set of challenges that allow me to develop myself while spending time in the place that I love the most: the outdoors!
Agency: National Park Service
Program: Resource Assistant Program (RAP)
Location: Apalachicola National Forest