While it may be tough to believe, there are in fact trees and forests in Wyoming. The state offers more than just range land and barren plains. When making a trip into the mountains, the trees are as abundant as the wildflowers and the forests are just as beautiful.
My mountains are the Big Horn Mountains and the Laramie Mountain Range. All of my time so far as been spent on Muddy Mountain, because many of the other forests are still cloaked with snow. In my short two weeks in Casper, Wyoming, I have already begun to cruise timber, mark trees, and prepare for a summer of forest management. I can now visually estimate a tree’s diameter at breast height to see if its good for a post or pole (2-6 inches) or timber (8+ inches). Every different piece of the forest has a use, and must be properly managed by the Bureau of Land Management.
And the Bureau has quite the task. Because the BLM manages public lands of the United States, a proper forest management plan is not always straightforward. They must balance recreation needs (hiking, biking, photography) with supplying goods to the public (hunting, wood products, range lands) while still preserving the natural ecosystems (animal habitat, ecosystem services, and health of a forest). With so many diverse goals, an interdisciplinary mindset is critical. I have had the opportunity to work with wildlife biologists, archaeologists, range specialists, as well as my forester mentor.
The first two weeks has been a wonderful crash course into what the entire summer will look like (hint, no two days will be the same!). I’m eager and excited for what new opportunities await me each day, and am incredibly appreciative for the chance to be a CLM Intern in 2018.
Casper Field Office
Bureau of Land Management