Even though it seems like it just began, the 2012 FWS Trails Inventory, or "FishTrACS" as it has become more commonly known, has come to a close. Members went their seperate ways on September 10th, and Michael Molloy, our stalwart Coordinator, finshes up on October 16th.
But the good news is that this year was a great success. Attached to this page is a pdf version of the official Final Report, which has all the details, but a few bullets for now:
-The 2012 Inventory accomplished all of its primary goals, on time and on budget. Over 2011 and 2012, we walked and mapped every trail in the entire Fish and Wildlife system, in all 50 states and Puerto Rico. We had no serious incidents in two years of programming, and the 10 members last year and 6 members this year walked away with a once-in-a-lifetime adventure and a huge resume-booster!
- All told, our members surveyed 114 USFWS sites in 2012, inventorying 480 trails and logging 5500+ trail features and deficiencies.
- In 2012, the 6 members over 3 months combined traveled 48,000 miles by air, 25,000 miles by ground, and set foot in almost every state- from the very tip of Maine to the outskirts of San Diego, from the Florida Keys to Alaksa's Kenai Pennesula. All of this with the most serious injury being a non-embedded tick.
We look forward to repeating all this in a few years when the trails need inventorying again. A huge thanks to all the folks that made this possible: Nathan Caldwell of the FWS, Andy Byra and Rick Huso of Federal Highways, Scott Weaver, Joey Ruehrwein, and Jarrod Ball of SCA, and certainly our own Michael Molloy for steering the ship so ably this year, and all the members for working so hard to make the program a success on the ground.
America’s last frontier welcomed Team Alpha as they arrived in Anchorage, Alaska for the team’s 3rd and final hitch. Team members Dan Solmon, Michael Molloy, and Mike Vasquez spent their first night exploring the state’s largest city and enjoying some fresh Alaskan seafood. The team would spend the next day at the US FWS office in Anchorage learning about bear safety when it comes to working in bear country. This information would be helpful later when the team went into remote parts of the Kenai Peninsula. On top of this training, Michael Molloy was recertified to be the bear guard for the team as they completed their endeavors.
The following day was spent traveling from Anchorage to Homer where the team’s first refuge was located: the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge. On the ride to Homer the crew was ecstatic to see a black bear, a small grizzly bear, and a large moose from on the highway.
The first inventory was conducted the next day on the short Beluga Slough Trail that extended itself throughout the small town’s shoreline community. With one of the trail’s spurs ending near the town’s most talked about bakery, the Two Sisters, the team stopped for coffee and a bite to eat, confirming for themselves why the bakery was so popular. Over the weekend the team checked out an old Russian village, the local farmer’s market and the Homer spit.
On Sunday, the crew traveled to Soldotna where they stayed for the final 2 weeks of the hitch. There the team had roughly 90 miles of trails to inventory at Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. The team spent the first two days taking inventory of the trails near the refuge headquarters and the nearby town of Sterling while the weather was wet and cloudy. Finally, on Wednesday the clouds broke allowing the crew to take a boat ride across Skilak Lake to the Cottonwood Creek Trail. The trail ended in the alpine in a saddle between mountain peaks overlooking the lake and other neighboring mountains. Here the crew stopped for a well deserved break and took in the natural beauty of Alaska that surrounded them. The rain held off just for the day and next day the trio returned to the forest to inventory trails that didn’t offer views quite as nice as the previous day.
After a tough week, the team spent the weekend camping in Seward. Here Dan met up with the trail crew from Kenai and went for a long hike along the Exit Glacier to the Harding Icefield. Michael and Mike decided instead to take a Kenai Fjord Tour on a tour boat. The two were able to catch glimpses of some astounding wildlife including puffins, Stellar Sea lions, orcas and humpback whales. The next day the team visited the Alaska SeaLife Center. The crew learned about some of the history of the fjords that make up the landscape and all of the critters that make their home in the surrounding waters.
A change of pace in Seward was just what team Alpha needed to continue into the second week at Kenai. Although they covered an exceptional amount of ground the first week there was still a lot of work to be done. The final week proved to be a great week for the team. Though the harsh climate of Alaska didn’t always act in their favor, two beautifully clear days were well spent taking inventory of a few trails that offered tremendous views of Skilak Lake, nearby mountains, glaciers and a couple of distant volcanoes. On the second clear day, the crew was escorted by boat to the far side of Tustemena Lake, to a remote portion of the refuge. The trail here led to a cabin by a small lake called Emma Lake. On Thursday, the final day at Kenai NWR, despite heavy winds, Dan and Mike hiked the Seven Lakes Trail and the Egumen Lake Trail. The gang then packed up and headed back to Anchorage the following day and headed back to the lower 48 bright and early the next morning. Both Dan and Mike thoroughly enjoyed their first time experiencing the Last Frontier, and Michael was glad to be back.
Charlie team on hitch three consisted of Nastia Abramova and Katie Auer. The girls left Boise on Monday august 13th and headed for their first refuge, Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge. It was a vast refuge and they enjoyed the hours they spent driving through it to the trails and to the bunkhouse where they spent the night. The smell of sagebrush, warm desert winds and coziness of the bunkhouse made this site Nastia’s favourite. Luckily they saw one antelope from very far away during their time there. On Tuesday they drove 7 hours to Bandon Marsh NWR, on the way checking out magnificent Crater Lake National Park. The drive to the coast let them admire the variety of landscapes Oregon has to present: from dry and yellow continental to Cascades emerald rocky landscapes. Bandon Marsh was a smallish refuge that recently completed the largest tidal marsh restoration in Oregon by removing dikes throughout 400 acres of tidal wetland.
After inventorying the two trails there on Wednesday (and doing a little bird watching) they drove up the coast along route 1, stopping at several places along the way to enjoy the sights and smells of the Pacific Ocean. Thursday brought them to Ankeny NWR where they had several beautiful trails to walk and lots of warm sunshine to enjoy. The same day they inventoried Baskett Slough NWR and watched the sunset from the top of one of the trails there. Friday morning they finished their last trail at Basket Slough and drove to Tualatin NWR where they spent some time helping the visitor center staff catch and release a little Kangaroo Rat that had become trapped in the visitor center. On the trails they saw several great blue herons and a few egrets in the wetlands as they hiked. Then it was off to Seattle where they spent the weekend visiting friends and family.
The following Monday they had to inventory two National Fish Hatcheries: Warm Springs and Little White Salmon. The gorgeous drive took them through Mount Hood National Forest back to the high desert, where they spent the night. After quick inventory at White Springs they headed to Little White Salmon admiring Mount Hood on the way. The rest of the week was devoted to inventorying Umatilla, McNarry, Cold Springs and Saddle Mountain NWRs. The close location of these refuges allowed exploring the area and enjoying several times the drive along the Columbia River Gorge. For the last weekend girls visited Mount Rainier National Park and hiked the Skyline Trail. They were lucky to see and smell alpine flowers in bloom and enjoyed scenery of volcanoes and mountains from the Panorama Point at 7000 feet. The extended hikes of the last few days set the girls into really good shape. Happy and tired, but full of impressions of Washington and Oregon, the girls came back to Boise after two weeks of nature delight.
Josh Andreska and Ryan Bernardi were assigned as Bravo Team partners for the SCA crew’s final 2012 Trails Inventory hitch. Though the trip was shortened to a two-week hitch, the duo still worked hard enough to have three weeks-worth of adventure while inventorying trails for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Washington State. Setting off from Boise, Idaho on a Monday, the team was able to inventory Toppenish and Columbia National Wildlife Refuges as well as Entiat and Winthrop National Fish Hatcheries by the middle of the week.
Bravo team left the scenic, arid landscape of eastern Washington to visit the even more scenic terrain of the North Cascade Mountain Range. Josh and Ryan had an incredible experience in North Cascades National Park for a night, camping next to a river at a walk-in only campsite. The following two days were spent travelling to and exploring majestic Mount Rainier National Park. While at Rainier, Ryan and Josh experienced difficult hikes, gazed upon beautiful waterfalls, lush sub-alpine meadows, and colorful rock formations, made a new friend, and camped out at another beautiful walk-in campsite located between two waterfalls.
Bravo team finished the weekend with a brief visit to Seattle where they attended annual festivities, ate fresh fruit from famous Pike’s Place Market, and enjoyed seeing the Seattle Mariner’s win a ballgame at home.
The second week began much like the first. It was a quick inventory of Gray’s Harbor NWR’s trail near the coast and then on to Willapa NWR where Josh and Ryan inventoried over 15 miles of trails including the beautifully decorated Salmon Art Interpretive Trail. The highlight though of the Willapa refuge visit was being transported via fan-boat to and from the trails on Long Island on consecutive mornings. Once Willapa’s extensive trail system was completed, only Julia Butler Hansen National Wildlife Refuge for the White-tailed Deer remained. Josh and Ryan completed their last trail at JBH with ease and it was off for more adventures.
Bravo Team spent the majority of their remaining free-time at Olympic National Park. Here they spent time exploring the 3 major ecosystems the park has to offer: coastal, temperate rainforest, and sub-alpine forest. Highlights included a 9 mile hike through coastal prairies and the Pacific shore, the Hall of Mosses interpretive tour hike within the Hoh Rainforest, and camping one night each in Elwha Valley, Ozette Lake, and Hoh Rainforest. The last night of the hitch was spent camping in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest near Mt. St. Helen’s. Josh and Ryan were able to snap a few photos of the impressive stratovolcano from breathtaking viewpoints before officially wrapping up Hitch 3 and returning to Boise.
For Hitch 2, Charlie Team was comprised of Anastasia Abramova and Joshua Andreska. The pair was excited to head out of Boise and cover expansive portion of the American West and Southwest. The three weeks spent in the field provided a range of both familiar and unfamiliar destinations.
The first stop on Charlie Team’s itinerary was Ruby Lake National Wildlife Refuge in northeastern Nevada. On the way, the team had a memorable drive through a light rain shower at sunset which filled the desert air with a lingering scent of sage brush. Known to be one of the most remote National Wildlife Refuges, and located east of the Ruby Mountains in Nevada’s high desert, Ruby Lake proved to be a gorgeous wetland oasis. Things heated up quickly once Charlie Team headed south to finish their inventory of Nevada at Pahranagat NWR. Their route included a stretch of Highway 50, which is given the moniker “The Loneliest Road in America”.
The team’s first weekend was spent staying one night in Las Vegas’ Stratosphere Hotel before heading west across the Nevada/California border to visit Death Valley National Park. The mercury had risen to 115°F in the late afternoon and sadly, the group’s attempt to fry an egg in the blazing sun had failed. Next, Josh and Nastia eagerly traveled onward to Yosemite National Park. Charlie Team was able to occupy one of the last remaining campsites before venturing out on a late afternoon hike around Yosemite Creek. The following day was spent site-seeing around Yosemite, including stops at the giant sequoias inhabiting Mariposa Grove and the majestic Yosemite Valley. Once past Yosemite, there seemed no better way to wrap up the long weekend than spending some quality time exploring the beautiful city of San Francisco.
Week Two included survey sites throughout California including the San Pablo Bay, Salinas River, Pixley, and Sonny Bono Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuges. The locations of these refuges spanned from the Bay Area to the southernmost region of California which allowed Charlie Team to take a cruise down the Pacific Coast on California State Highway 1. Big Sur was a memorable highlight which offered stunning views of the unique coastal landscape.
Not yet ready to leave the comforts of California, Josh and Nastia decided to spend the second weekend at Ocean Beach International Hostel near sunny San Diego. A weekend of surfing and beach bumming was just what they needed before gearing up and heading east for the final week.
Two stops in Arizona proved to be challenging but rewarding. Charlie team battled unfavorable desert conditions at Imperial NWR when steady morning rain caused flooding and delayed their departure to Cabeza Prieta NWR near the Arizona/Mexico border. However, the rain accentuated the vivid red, orange, and yellow sediments that comprise Imperial’s “Painted Desert Trail” which earned the trail the rank of Nastia’s and Josh’s favorite of the Hitch. The final three destinations were Las Vegas NWR, Muleshoe NWR, and Tishomingo National Fish Hatchery, located in northern New Mexico, Texas, and southern Oklahoma, respectively. It was a real neat experience for the team to see rare paddlefish being raised, and alligator snapping turtles hatching from their eggs at the Tishomingo hatchery. Overall, the hitch was an incredible experience through scenic regions of the country. Both Josh and Nastia found the hitch to be extremely rewarding.
Teammates Katie Auer and Michael Vasquez led team Alpha on an exciting 5,000 mile journey to 19 wildlife refuges within 7 states stretching from Idaho to North Dakota, and Kansas to Wyoming. This incredible excursion took the team members to many new places and a few that were familiar. The first leg of the journey took the team through the beautiful mountains of northern Idaho and western Montana, a part of the country rich with Native American history. Spending only a couple of days in the area, team Alpha left the dramatic mountainous landscape and quickly headed east into “Big Sky Country”. Here the group took inventory at refuges that were home to large groups of pelicans, a sight that neither team member expected. Making their way farther east, Katie and Mike spent the weekend at Medicine Lake National Wildlife refuge near the border with North Dakota. The crew was excited to watch incredible thunderstorms that each night in the endless night sky.
The second leg of the hitch proved to be the most demanding as team Alpha took inventory at 8 refuges within a five day span that covered ground from northern North Dakota to southern Kansas. Sweeping through four refuges within 2 days the group took a side trip on Wednesday of this week to see Mt. Rushmore and to camp at Badlands National Park. The hard work put in during the first two days paid themselves off through the incredible sights that the Badlands had to offer. Katie and Mike were amazed at the unique landscape. Spending only a night at the Badlands, the group quickly finished their tour of South Dakota and made their way south to Flint Hills National Wildlife Refuge in Kansas. After completing this, the group spent the weekend with another SCA crew stationed in Lawrence, Kansas. After a trying week the generous hospitality of this crew rejuvenated Katie and Mike’s spirits. The best part of the hitch was still to come.
For Hitch 2, Ryan Bernardi and Dan Solmon took the Team Bravo mantle, and drove across the northern middle of the United States.
The trip began in Buffalo, New York with a side trip to Niagara Falls State Park and the Anchor Bar to eat the original Buffalo chicken wings. Both of these were well worth the trip, but soon it was time to begin our work at Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge, in the midst of central New York’s drumlins and along a spur of the Erie Canal.
From New York, we drove around southern Ontario to the Lower Peninsula of Michigan, where we visited Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge, a forested preserve in the midst of the Rust Belt. Then, it was on to southern Indiana’s Muscatatuck NWR, full of stout hardwoods with carvings in the trunks from the nineteenth century.
We spent our first weekend with Ryan’s family in the Chicago area, where we were able to relax, eat some of the Second City’s famous foodstuffs, and see the White Sox win at home.
From Chicago, we traveled over to Iowa, beginning with two refuges on the Hawkeye State’s so-called East Coast, the Mississippi River. At Port Louisa NWR and the McGregor District of the Upper Mississippi NWR, we saw the Big Muddy already a wide, braided river with many sloughs and forested islands bordering the barge channel.
Next, it was we went to Neal Smith NWR, west of Des Moines, a large preserve of native prairie with its own herd of bison and elk. Which we did not see, unfortunately. Our time in iowa ended along the West Coast, the Missouri River. There we visited DeSoto and Boyer Chute NWRs, straddling Iowa and Nebraska. Both refuges lost considerable trail mileage to the Missouri River floods of 2011. Several Trails at Boyer Chute were buried under several feet of sand deposits, and DeSoto’s visitor center’s steamboat salvage exhibit was unfortuntaley, still in off-site storage.
For the third week, we made a quick trip through Wisconsin, Minnesota, and the Dakotas,, seeing the St Croix Wetland Management District, Whittlesey Creek NWR, Detroit Lakes WMD, Hamden Slough NWR, Tewaukon NWR, and Sand Lake NWR. Highlights included spending time on the shore of Lake Superior in Wisconsin, excellent hamburgers in Lidgerwood, ND, and a surprise waterpark at or hotel in Grand Forks, ND.
All in all we had a wonderful time touring the Midwest and Great Plains, seeing family and friends, eating great food, and crossing and recrossing the Mississippi river.
Team Charlie, made up of Josh Andreska and Mike Vasquez, began their hitch through the south at Wheeler NWR near Decatur, Alabama. The inventory there ended with a unique and impressive observation building that was equipped with stadium seating and looked out onto a marsh through 1 way glass. Team Charlie continued through northern Mississippi and spent the rest of the first week in western Tennessee. After completing the first week, Team Charlie spent the weekend camping at Mammoth Cave NP, taking a tour of the cave and enjoying the scenic beauty.
After a wonderful weekend spent in Kentucky, it was back to work, this time primarily in Arkansas. Josh and Mike were pleasantly surprised at the aesthetically pleasing surroundings as they winded their way down Highway 7 in their rugged Chevy Silverado extended cab, destination: Norfork National Fish Hatchery. Facing triple digit heat during the days, taking a dip in Norfork Lake during the evening was quite a relief. By midweek, Team Charlie had finished up inventorying trails at the remaining Arkansas destinations, including rustic trails at Holla Bend and Pond Creek National Wildlife Refuges. Having spent the first two weeks without one single gator spotting, Louisiana was a last hope.
The heat and humidity of the south was no match for Team Charlie. Trudging through the palmetto palms at Bayou Cocodrie, the team encountered numerous banana spiders and feral hogs. The team was also treated at Cat Island by the presence of the largest tree east of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, an enormous Cypress. Louisiana provided a landscape unlike anything Josh or Mike had seen before. It was while staying at St. Catherine’s Creek NWR that Josh and Mike saw their first alligator of many alligators.
Strategically planning their route to wind up in New Orleans on the 4th of July paid off in the form of several memorable experiences for Charlie Team. Josh and Mike each got a taste of The Big Easy and were easily captivated by the city’s unique culture. Both agreed it is a city they’d like to return to and experience again. With the memories of a Nawlins 4th of July in the rearview mirror, Charlie Team rolled on to the southwestern portion of the state to inventory several more trails at the gorgeous new Southwestern Louisiana Refuge Complex.
At the end of a very long drive to their final destination, Mandalay Wildlife Refuge, awaited one last well maintained trail, as well as a little relief in the form of light rain. With their expectations of the region greatly surpassed, it was time for Josh and Mike to say “see you later, alligator” to the south.
Visiting the Northeast Region of the United States was a mixture of some of the oldest historic cities in the nation as well as beautiful outdoor sceneries. Team Bravo was made up of Katie Auer and Ryan Bernardi. While on hitch, Katie and Ryan visited 17 refuges in a total of 9 states.
The team flew from Boise, Idaho to Bangor, Maine a trip that took up the entire day. From Bangor, Katie and Ryan made their way north to Aroostook National Wildlife Refuge which was near the Canadian border. The team then traveled to Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, and finally to North Carolina; finishing their trails inventory a day early in the Outer Banks in the North Carolina. They then traveled back up to Washington D.C. in order to fly back to Boise.
While in this amazing region of the country, they encountered many different kinds of wildlife and interesting sites. Some of the wildlife the team saw included a black bear, a barred owl, wild turkeys, chipmunks, turtles, fresh water mussels and a variety of fish. While inventorying trails they had the opportunity to learn some of the history that surrounded the refuges they were in. They visited refuges that had once housed nuclear bombs during the cold war (Aroostook NWR, ME), been a burial site for civil war soldiers (Harrison Lake NFH, VA) and had suffered damage from recent hurricanes and were in the process of rebuilding (White River NFH, VT). The team was also able to see the Red Socks play the Braves in Boston, visit Times Square in New York City, had cheese steaks in Philadelphia, spend the 4th of July in Virginia Beach and saw many of the monuments, memorials, and museums at the National Mall in Washington D.C.
Overall the trip was a great success. There were many interesting stories, photos, and videos but nothing will ever compare to actually visiting these sites for yourself and seeing the wonders of the Northeastern United States.
For Hitch #1, Dan Solmon and Nastia Abramova of Fish TrACS 2012 visited Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. Our visit began with flights from Boise to Jacksonville, FL, and then a drive westward to the Apalichicola area of Florida’s Panhandle.
Once in the Panhandle, we began a trip around Florida’s coast. Most of our refuges were in wetlands near the coast, or on small islands. Our first three sites required boats to access. On these islands we helped a biologist track red wolves via radio telemetry, explored a logging town ruined in a 19th century hurricane, and walked the brick paved roads of a fort built to defend Tampa Bay during the Spanish-American War.
After the Tampa area, we visited the endangered scavenging Key deer on Big Pine Key, and surveyed several semi-flooded trails on mountain, or rather swamp/marsh bikes. After a weekend in the Keys, we made a well-timed trip up Florida’s Atlantic Coast, as Tropical Storm Debby drenched the Gulf Coast sites we had just visited, and several Atlantic sites we were son to visit.
The northward part of our trip took us to more Florida wetlands, where we surveyed trails in cypress swamps, man-made mosquito impoundments, learned about ambitious past attempts to drain the Everglades and ambitious contemporary attempts to restore the Everglades, and saw nesting sea turtles crawl to and from the ocean. After finishing the Florida sites with our first hatchery, we crossed our driving path just west of Jacksonville and headed into Georgia’s Okefenokee Swamp. We were able to spend part of our second weekend in the swamp exploring the famous canoe trails. We pushed our boat through thick grass under blazing sun at times, and shaded up under dense cypress stands at other times. We finished out our weekend in beautiful, historic, and humid Savannah, GA and on “Savannah’s Beach”, Tybee Island.
Week three began with three refuges in the Savannah Coastal Complex, two in Georgia and one in South Carolina. Highlights of the Savannah Coastal Complex included learning the fascinating history of Harris Neck NWR: from plantation to small farms to Army airfield to corrupt sheriff’s personal fiefdom to National Wildlife Refuge. We enjoyed a hearty cookout with Harris Neck staff and SCA interns, too. We were fortunate enough to visit Wassaw NWR, whose islands have never been logged or farmed, despite being very close to Savannah and Tybee. Our time in the Savannah Coastal Complex ended with a Fourth of July survey of Pinckney Island NWR in South Carolina. Located just across Skull Creek from popular Hilton Head Island, Pinckney’s trail system offered an excellent bench from which to view two of Hilton Head’s three fireworks shows, without the crowds and traffic of the vacation island.
The hitch concluded with two inland refuges, Santee in South Carolina and Pee Dee in North Carolina. In Santee we saw a vast man-made lake, the largest in South Carolina. Many of the farmers in the flooded area were compensated for the flooding of their land in 1941 with chickens, according to Santee NWR staff. After two days of surveying at Santee, we moved over to Pee Dee, in North Carolina’s Piedmont region, where we saw hills and gullies for the first time in three weeks. We finished our last refuge just as the fireflies were beginning to flicker in the darker forests, and set off into the sunset towards a Charlotte, NC hotel, and then back to Boise.
During our three weeks in the southeast, we had a wonderful time enjoying new environments, food, and if you’ll permit me to be trite, true Southern hospitality. It was a wonderful trip, with many new trails, new signs, and new features mapped for the USFWS.
Joshua Andreska was born in South Milwaukee, Wisconsin and grew up enjoying life along the shore of Lake Michigan. Josh stayed active as a youngster by playing a variety of sports including baseball, swimming, football, and tennis. Living near a large body of freshwater, and competitive swimming remained a constant when he began attending the University of Wisconsin- La Crosse, along the Mississippi River and became a member of the swimming and diving team.
The Mississippi River provided endless fishing, canoeing, hiking, and swimming opportunity to satisfy his appetite for the outdoors. He also found some time between hooking into largemouth bass, navigating the “Mighty Miss”, and trailblazing Hixon Forest bluffs, to attend class and eventually graduate in the spring of 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in Geography with an Environmental Science concentration and a minor in Earth Science. A proud accomplishment in college was co-organizing “Marsh Madness”- a spring cleaning effort of the Mississippi River Marsh trails by students and community members.
Josh began his fifth season as a park maintenance worker for Milwaukee County Parks Department in March of 2012 before accepting a position with the SCA. Being able to work outdoors in a beautiful public park along Lake Michigan, within walking distance of his house, was a terrific experience which he will always appreciate.
Now, as a 2012 SCA/US Fish and Wildlife Service Trails Inventory crew member, Josh is excited to explore and work in a large portion of the country, both new and familiar. In his leisure time, Josh plans to search for both the best fishing, and local live music that each location has to offer. You could say that it’s a search for the best…bass.
I grew up in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. I graduated from the University of Vermont with a Bachelor of Science in Integrated Biological Sciences. My goal is to become a professional in the wildlife biology field. Most of my work experience has been in a nursery setting, which sparked an early interest in ecology and natural communities. Some of my volunteer work has included being Junior Counselor for the Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Green Mountain Conservation Camp, caring for fish and herptiles at a local aquarium, and assisting in a study determining the occurrence of Eastern Equine Encephalitis in White tailed deer in Vermont.
I have spent time hiking and backpacking in Vermont, New Hampshire and northern New Mexico. In the future I would like to spend time mountaineering, mountain biking, and exploring remote parts of the country. I have successfully earned the rank of Eagle Scout and have been Project WILD certified. 2012 marks the beginning of my first internship with the SCA.
I grew up in Moscow Russia. One of my dreams always stays the same – to explore the world and travel.
That defined my choice of career – with my parents geologists, I picked geography as a major and graduated from Lomonosov Moscow State University with degree in Geography- geomorphology in 2003. I was studying mid-oceanic ridges and plate tectonics. By luck I came to US to get a GEBCO postgraduate Certificate in Ocean Mapping from the University of New Hampshire. I stayed in New Hampshire for Master’s and just graduated in May 2012 with MS in Earth Sciences – Ocean Mapping.
I keep my dream coming true – I met a lot of people from all over the world, travelled over Russia, Europe, South America and US. With my major in marine geomorphology, I got a chance to participate in several research cruises onboard of Russian, German and US research vessels. I love the ocean, but I love the land too. This internship gives a great opportunity to see parts of the country I could not have dreamt of visiting.
In the meantime I like music, good movies, photography, yoga and new experiences.
The SCA side of this program is based out of beautiful Boise, ID. Here in the SCA Boise office you'll find the home for all planning and operational support. With our access to internet, telephones and voicemails, the full range of office amenities, and a coffee maker we are able to maintain the extensive communications necessary to efficiently run our field visits and also process the considerable amount of spatial data that is collected in the field. This is where the all the pieces are put together both before a hitch and after.
As for housing, the SCA members are living in an apartment building immediately behind the SCA office. There is a male apartment and a female apartment. Between swimming in the pool, playing racquetball, and lounging in the rec. room’s mini theater there are plenty of ways to spend time off. With easy access to the Boise Greenbelt, we are able to get just about anywhere in town within a 20 minute bike ride
The goal of the SCA/USFWS Trails Inventory program is to provide the Fish and Wildlife Service with a comprehensive and accurate inventory of all trails on USFWS sites across the country. This is certainly an ambitious project as there are over 600 USFWS sites nationwide. This project will take us to every corner of the country, to high mountains and low deserts through bayous and fjords.
The 2012 effort picks up where the 2011 Trails Inventory left off, this time with the purpose of recording not only new trails added since the first survey in 2006, but all remaining trails in the system. We have 6 interns serving for 4 months to complete this effort, supervised by a roving coordinator (returning veteran Michael Molloy) and a manager (Alex Olsen, who supervised the 2011 effort) based in Boise. You can read all about who the interns are in the member bios section!
Attached to this page you can find a list of all the refuges we plan to visit this year. We are literally traveling to every corner of the country: from the tip of Maine to Southern California, from Washington state to the Florida Keys, and throw in Puerto Rico and Alaska to boot!
We are all extremely excited for this opportunity as it provides the chance to perform an important service to the USFWS, expand our own knowledge and expertise, and experience many different parts of the country for the first time.
I grew up in a suburb of Chicago called Woodridge. Living close to the city I never thought growing up that I would be such an active outdoors man. In my senior year of high school I did a project with Argonne National Laboratory which got published by them. Even after this publication I was not fully certain that I wanted to pursue a career in the sciences. It was not until I was attending college at Illinois State University that I realized how badly I wanted a career dealing with the environment. I have graduated this year from Illinois State University with a double major. One of my degrees is in the field of geology and the other is in the geography field. While in college I had heard of the Student Conservation Association from one of my geography professors. I filled out an application and before I knew it I had received an email to join the FishTrACS program. Once I interviewed for the position I knew right away this was the job for me. I am very excited to travel to parts of the world I have never been to and get to work with other people who have the same passions as I do.
Some of my major hobbies include: snowboarding, trail biking, skateboarding, soccer, swimming, indoor rock climbing, fishing, fixing/making computers, and playing acoustic guitar. Other hobbies that I love, but do not always have the resources to do so are: outdoor rock climbing, white water rafting, wakeboarding/water skiing, boating, camping, hiking, dirt biking, riding ATV’s, and backpacking the country.
I grew up just outside of Washington D.C. in northern Virginia. Although I grew up just outside the city, I spent a large portion of my childhood kayaking, rock climbing, camping and biking around Virginia and the Adirondacks in New York, where we spent most of our vacations. These activities instilled in me a love for the outdoors and in the summer of my freshmen year I spent 3 weeks working at a state park in Southern Virginia for the Youth Conservation Corps. It was during this program that I learned about SCA and subsequently spent the next three summers participating in their high school trail crews (North Cascades Nat’l Park-2006, Kenia Fjords Nat’l Park-2007 and Manti la Sal Nat’l Forest-2008).
After graduating high school I went to James Madison University in Harrisonburg Virginia where I graduated this May (2012) with a bachelors in biology. But I was still not quite sick of SCA and during the summer of 2010 I took part in an internship in Sitka, Alaska mapping and controlling invasive plants in Sitka National Historical Park.
I still don’t know what I’m going to do now that I have graduated, but this internship is hopefully bringing me one step closer to finding out.
Dan Solmon grew up in Corvallis Oregon, where he learned to enjoy playing in the woods with his friends who lived in the countryside. After graduating from McGill University in Montreal with a BA (Honours) in Geography.
Following a short stint in Boston, Dan acceecpted a position as a trails technician with the USDA Forest Service on Idaho’s Nez Perce National Forest. Dan worked for seven seasons with the USFS on the Nez Perce and Wallowa-Whitman National Forests before becoming a SCA corps trails project leader in 2011 on Virginia’s George Washington Jefferson National Forest. Since then, Dan has served on and led corps trail leader teams on the Pacific Crest Trail in southern California.
Dan enjoys hiking, backpacking, reading, foreign languages, road trips, and trying new food.
Dan is most excited that he will travel all over the United States this summer, learn new skills related to his undergraduate degree, and see a great amount of wildlife.
|The Boise Scene|
|Joshua Andreska- Team Member|
|Michael Vasquez- Team Member|
|Ryan Bernardi- Team Member|
|Katie Auer- Team Member|
|Dan Solmon- Team Member|
|"FishTrACS" Alpha Team- Hitch 3: Alaska|
|FishTrACS Charlie Team- Hitch 3: Oregon|
|FishTrACS Bravo Team: Hitch 3- Washington|
|Charlie Team: Hitch 2: California, Nevada, and the Southwest.|
|Alpha Team: Hitch 2- The Mountain West and Great Plains|
|FishTrACS Bravo Team: Hitch 2: New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota|
|Hitch Report #1- Charlie Team- Mike Vasquez and Josh Andreska- the Deep South|
|Hitch 1- Bravo Team- Katie Auer and Ryan Bernardi- New England|
|Hitch Report #1- Alpha Team- Dan Solmon and Nastia Abramova (Florida and SE Coast)|