With 22 years in the US Forest Service and a background that includes soil scientist and watershed management, Carolyn Napper is the new District Ranger for the Shasta McCloud Management Unit on the Shasta-Trinity National Forest, having taken over the position in September.

With 22 years in the US Forest Service and a background that includes soil scientist and watershed management, Carolyn Napper is the new District Ranger for the Shasta McCloud Management Unit on the Shasta-Trinity National Forest, having taken over the position in September.

With over 390,000 acres with very diverse environments, Napper says one of the challenges is to include the variety of interests in the SMMU.

“There is tremendous diversity. We have the mountain, the headwaters of the Sacramento River and the McCloud Flats. Mount Shasta is a unique watershed,” Napper said. “There is diversity of people who are deeply tied to a wide range of interests, timber harvesting, hiking and fishing. I want to develop a vision that combines forest health with community input and needs. We can maintain a healthy forest through timber harvesting and protect northern spotted owl habitats.”

Napper said an example of community input is she has already had requests for more mountain bike trails.

“There are people who want Mount Shasta to be a destination for mountain biking,” Napper said.

Napper’s experience includes eight years with a special Forest Service unit called the San Dimas Technology Development Center that Napper said, “focused on projects that had national ramifications.”

“We traveled all over the country developing protocols for situations so they could be used in a variety of situations and would not have be redeveloped for each instance,” Napper said.
Napper said among the projects was a national soil monitoring protocol for ATV impacts on soil and a checklist on dealing with burned out forests.
“We developed a soil water road index for consistency in road evaluation,” Napper. “We created a burned area emergency response treatment catalogue for the best treatment of burned areas.”

On ATVs, Napper said the vehicles “definitely” have a place in National Forests.

“Roads are a contentious issue,” Napper said. “ATVs have a place with appropriate road design.”

Napper said a huge challenge for the Forest Service is declining budgets.

“We will see eight to 40 percent reductions depending on the area and the project,” Napper said. “We won’t have massive layoffs and will have some rehires in summer 2012. It will not, however, be at the level of previous years. We have a large workload and fewer dollars.”

Napper said an example of  the effect of smaller budgets is forest health.

“I would increase the treatment of overstocked stands, but we don’t have the personnel for the environmental analysis,” Napper said.

Napper said an additional top concern is the watershed.

“I am putting a large emphasis on watershed retention. We want to increase this program in size and scope,” Napper said. “We want a plan to be all encompassing. We want to be comprehensive in our identification of where we want a watershed to go, identify the problem and set a clear objective.”

Napper said another example of a “comprehensive” vision might be to align several different projects into one.

“A meadows restoration could also include a timber harvest to improve forest health and road improvement,” Napper said.
Napper said being a District Ranger is “an honor and a huge responsibility.”

“I have a fantastic group of employees,” Napper said. “I’m empowering them to come with solutions and ideas. I want them to think big in terms of grants.”

Napper can reached at the Mount Shasta Ranger Station at 530-926-4511 or email at cnapper@fs.fed.us.