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MEET THE NEW ASHLEY NATIONAL FOREST SUPERVISOR: GEORGE WELDON

As might be expected, George Weldon brings to the Ashley National Forest much agency experience. After high school he worked on the Big Bear District of the Shasta-Trinity NF in California, graduated from Humboldt State with a Forest Resources Management degree in l978. He worked out of Missoula as a smoke jumper on college summers, then worked five years on the Idaho's Moose Creek Ranger District (the only all wilderness district!) on the Nez Perce N.F. as Fire Management Officer. He became the Resource Assistant on the Custer N.F.'s Beartooth R.D., the Beaverhead's Assistant District Ranger, and, until 2000, Townsend District Ranger. He served as Deputy Forest Supervisor on the Lewis and Clark N.F. until he came to the Ashley as Supervisor early this year.

In an April 25 interview with the LYNX editor, George Weldon provided some insight into what changes he would like to see on the Ashley.

Learning about issues on the Ashley National Forest, which three would you be proud to have resolved:

  1. Weldon hopes "to resolve the ORV conflict" on the forest. He seeks "solutions with user input. The forest needs a travel management solution."
  2. "Updating the forest plan is a top priority. The plan needs to actively address problems on the forest and is a great opportunity to work with forest users to create a common vision."
  3. Fire management needs revisiting. "The Ashley is a very fire dependent ecosystem. We need to change our perception of our control over fire. It is not an all or nothing issue."

What is your perception of the Ashley timber program? The new supervisor addressed it as "small and a tool to accomplish multiple use objectives-- not to produce board feet but to improve forage."

As Supervisor, how will you deal with the growing number of users on the forest? Weldon asserted that "the Forest can't provide all things to everyone." Tell them "what we can provide that no one else can provide. We used to feature a chicken in every pot, but we can't do that. We must feature uses that are appropriate and those that are not. We [the F.S.] didn't provide the planning. Now we can."

How has the agency changed over the years you have been part of it? "There are more balanced programs. The Forest Service looked at all resource valued equally... The Chief explained it as 'we have to focus on what's left, not what's taken off.'"

On a lighter note, what can you imagine as your best day off spent on the forest? Weldon responded quickly: "I'd like to be fishing alone, or with my son and daughter, on a stream in the High Uintas."

To talk with Supervisor Weldon, email him at gaweldon@fs.fed.us or call his office:(435) 781-5101. Margaret Pettis


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