11 January 2024

Reconnecting with Modoc with a New Opportunity

Written by: Cody Tiffany

As I finished my time in the Army, I was looking for an opportunity to take me back home. I had almost given up hope on anything GIS related when I stumbled upon this internship. What an opportunity. With Alturas being such a remote, tight knit community, I did not feel there was going to be any desire for my skillset, but alas, Modoc National Forest and the Hispanic Access Foundation welcomed me in with open arms and big aspirations.

The first few months of the internship has introduced me to trails and road bridges on the forest. During my first week, I was reintroduced to the Warner Mountains and some of the trails spread throughout the forest. I was invited to inspect the work completed on the East Creek Trail with the Trails Crew. This trail had been inaccessible for over 20 years due to the Blue Fire in 2001, which destroyed the trail and it had overgrown with brush and trees since then. The forest partnered with Cal Fire to bring the trail back to life by granting temporary use of chainsaws in the Wilderness. During the hike, the Trails Lead, Joshua, informed me of the recreation opportunities that this trail as well as many others in the area provide to the public. East Creek Campground is an equestrian campground, and the trail connects to Poison Flat Trail and the Summit Trail.

During the next few weeks, I went out with the engineering crew to conduct biennial bridge inspections for 11 of the 14 road bridges. I learned about the different bridge construction types in the Modoc and assisted the team by inspecting the concrete for delamination. This process was done by look, feel, and sound by dragging a chain across the deck of the concrete and listing for a hollow metallic sound. After inspecting the deck, superstructure, and substructure, we measured the cross-sections of the bridges. I operated the leveling rod and ensured accurate measurements at five-foot intervals and the thalweg to input into the inspection report. Lastly, I uploaded all the data from the reports into the Natural Resource Management database and updated the GIS layer for proper positioning of the bridge point.

Being back in Modoc has been an adjustment for me and my family, but I appreciate the community for welcoming me back so quickly. I am grateful for this opportunity through the Hispanic Access Foundation to bring me back to my hometown. After exploring some of the forest, I have been able to fall in love with the area all over again and relive some of my youth. 

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Hispanic Access Foundation connects Latinos and others with partners and opportunities to improve lives and create an equitable society.

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