13 July 2022

Special Uses on the Santa Fe National Forest

Written by: Lorraina Rojas

Hello! My name is Lorraina and I’m in the Resource Assistants program through MANO. Through this program, I work for the US Forest Service in Special Uses at the Santa Fe National Forest here in northern New Mexico.

For my first month with the Forest Service: Training! 

Before this program, I’d never heard of Special Uses before (and I’m still learning all about them). Special usesrefer to a number of activities that require a permit to occur on Forest Service land, like leading a guided hunt business, building a road to private land through Forest Service land, or even filming a movie! One of my first tasks on the job was to organize and digitize the records of filming permits for the forest, some of which really surprised me—snowy canyons in New Mexico were used for movie scenes set on the Canadian border!

I’ve also been able to meet with the other Region 3 current RAP peers and alumni. Region 3 is one of the 9 large Forest Service management areas that the US is broken into, the Southwest region specifically. It can feel like we are spread all over the place, so it was nice to see everyone again and learn what they are doing or did during their time in program, and where they’ve gone or are going after. 

Another part of the RAP program that I’m experiencing is the opportunity for professional development. After finishing college, you don’t get to pick up interesting classes anymore, but I was able to start an online course in programming through MANO’s training and development budget. I’m grateful to have not only the resources to sharpen skill and learn new ones, but the support and encouragement to pursue knowledge that betters me.

There’s always a lot more to be learned in natural resource management, and I look forward to my next few months here on the Santa Fe National Forest! 

Agency: U.S Forest Service

Program: Resource Assistant Program (RAP)

Location: Southwestern Regional Office

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