Category Archives: Umatilla National Forest

USDA Forest Service releases final instructions on objections for Blue Mountains Forest Plan revisions

PORTLAND, Ore. – March 14, 2019 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service has released final objection instructions for the Umatilla, Malheur, and Wallowa-Whitman Forest Plan Revisions.

The Regional Forester has been instructed to withdraw the draft Record of Decision, Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), and the three Revised Plans.

Forest Service Acting Deputy Chief and Reviewing Officer Chris French issued a letter to Regional Forester Glenn Casamassa explaining his instruction.

“Many factors compounded to produce revised plans that would be difficult to implement,” French wrote. “While my review did not identify any specific violations of law, regulation, or policy, significant changes occurred over the 15-year time period of the planning process.”

French said that a number of plan modifications occurred that were often complex and not well understood, and there were a number of changes in organizations, stakeholders, and key Forest Service staff.

The Revised Plans also did not fully account for the unique social and economic needs of local communities in the area.

“The resulting plans are very difficult to understand, and I am concerned that there will be ongoing confusion and disagreement as to how each Revised Plan is to be implemented,” French said.

The Forest Plans for the Umatilla, Malheur, and Wallowa-Whitman have been under revision for nearly 15 years.

The Final EIS, three Revised Plans, and the draft Record of Decision were released in June 2018 for the pre-decisional objection process.

Approximately 350 objections were filed on a variety of issues, most significant being access and travel management, impacts of the plan decisions on local communities, the Aquatic and Riparian Conservation Strategy, wildlife issues, and forest management.

Objection resolution meetings were held in five different communities in November and December of 2018. Over 300 people participated voicing concerns and clarifying objections on a wide variety of issues.

“I recognize the hard work and commitment of your employees over the last 15 years,” French wrote. “I also realize how much dedication, energy, time, and effort that the public has put into this process. I am confident that the information and data collected and analyzed, as well as the breadth of objection issues, can be used to inform our next steps.”

Existing Land and Resource Management Plans, as amended, will remain in place as the Forest Service determines next steps for the Umatilla, Malheur, and Wallowa-Whitman National Forests.

In the coming months, Forest Service officials will engage stakeholders to explore ways of working together to support a path forward on shared priorities including strengthening local economies, reducing wildfire risk, ensuring access, and supporting healthier watersheds.

“We are committed to the responsible stewardship of National Forest System lands and confident that we can find common ground for the long-term sustainable management of these forests,” said Regional Forester Casamassa. “I look forward to joining local and state officials, partners, Tribes, and members of the public to explore how we can best work together in shared stewardship to pursue common objectives.”

More information on the Blue Mountains Forest Plan Revision Objection and Resolution Process can be found here.

Source information: USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Region staff (press release)

Open letter to Blue Mountains communities: First round of objection-resolution meetings a positive step

Leadership Corner - Glenn Casamassa

On Dec. 14, 2018, Pacific Northwest Regional Forester Glenn Casamassa released the following “open letter” to the communities affected by the proposed Blue Mountains revised forest plan (Malheur, Umatilla, and Wallowa-Whitman National Forests), including those who submitted formal objections or participated in objections resolutions meetings as part of the ongoing plan revision process.

See also: 



Chris French, Acting Deputy Chief, National Forest System, USDA Forest Service, listens to a participant in Blue Mountains Forest Plan revision objections resolution meeting at High School in Baker City, Ore. USDA Forest Service photo by Travis Mason-Bushman.

Dear Objectors, Interested Persons, and Blue Mountains Community Members,

I recently had the privilege of meeting many of you during the first round of objection-resolution meetings for the Blue Mountains Revised Forest Plans.  I want to sincerely thank everyone who participated.

Over 300 Objectors, Interested Persons, and public observers attended meetings in John Day, Pendleton, Wallowa, Baker City, and La Grande, Oregon.

I am grateful for the time and effort invested by each of you. I hope you will agree that this first round of resolution meetings was a positive step.

The meetings were led by objection reviewing officers based in Washington, D.C., with support and coordination from the Pacific Northwest Regional Office as well as the Malheur, Umatilla and Wallowa-Whitman National Forests.

The goal for these initial meetings was to bring clarity and mutual understanding to the Blue Mountain Forest Plan objection issues.

The dialogue helped Forest Service leadership and staff to better understand your values, concerns, and views.

Spending time in Eastern Oregon improved much more than our understanding of the issues identified in the objections, though.

Through our initial discussions we also gained a deeper appreciation of local residents’ special relationships with the land.

We had it affirmed that, for many of those who live in and around the Blue Mountains, these national forests are not just places to visit and recreate – the forests are a vital part of your community life, identity, heritage, and livelihoods.

The Forest Service is striving to honor these special relationships in the Blue Mountain Forest Plan’s resolution process.

In doing so, we will better respect the views of many different community members – including our Tribal neighbors, the States of Oregon and Washington, County and other local government representatives, user groups, environmental groups, industry, and business – all of whom seek assurances that the Forest Service will protect their priority resources.

During the initial meetings the Forest Service heard a lot about a wide range of topics, including access; aquatic and riparian conservation; elk security and bighorn sheep; fire and fuels; fish, wildlife, and plants; livestock grazing; local government cooperation and coordination; public participation; social and economic issues; timber and vegetation; and wilderness, backcountry, and other special areas.

Digging into these topics in person gave the Forest Service the opportunity to explore issues that were not as prominent in the written objection letters.  From the dialogue, some issues appear to be close to resolution while others will require further discussion, so there will be more steps to take in this process.

The Forest Service knows that many topics are interrelated, and we will work to pull together the related topics for discussion in future meetings, so all of us can better see the connections and consider the trade-offs of potential resolutions.

The Forest Service also understands that not all Objectors and Interested Persons were able to attend the first round of meetings or have their voices represented by others.

So, as we navigate these next steps, the Forest Service will work ensure we are as inclusive as possible in future objections-resolutions meetings.

Over the coming weeks the reviewing officers will be studying the notes and reflecting on what we heard in the first round of resolution meetings and we will be helping the Washington Office in scheduling the next round of objections-resolutions meetings. We will be in touch again to announce the next steps.

Thank you for your contributions, and I look forward to making more progress together in the near future.

Kind regards,
Glenn Casamassa,
Pacific Northwest Regional Forester 

Source Information: Glenn Casamassa is the Regional Forest for the USDA Forest Service – Pacific Northwest Region, supervising operations and staff on all national forests and grassland in Oregon and Washington State. For more information about the Blue Mountains Forest Plan planning process and scheduled objections resolution meetings, visit:

Regional Forester: Forest Service looking to listen and work towards resolution in Blues’ meetings

Leadership Corner - Glenn Casamassa

By Glenn Casamassa, Pacific Northwest Regional Forester  –

Next week, I will be participating with a team of folks from the Forest Service headquarters in Washington, D.C., in Objections Resolution meetings for the Revised Forest Plans for the Malheur, Umatilla, and Wallowa-Whitman National Forests. We will also be joined by other representatives from the Regional Office in Portland, Ore., and the involved National Forests.

Throughout this process, we received about 350 objection letters and have invited objectors from across the communities of Eastern Oregon to join us to discuss them.

I have worked closely with the Reviewing Officer, Chris French, for years and I know he and the team are as deeply committed to understanding your concerns as we are in the region.

We are coming to listen and hopefully begin the process of resolving your concerns and refining a shared vision for the future of these forests we all value.

It is important to all of us that we get to just sit down and talk with objectors and interested persons face-to-face.

The team has reviewed the objections and now, with this first round of meetings, we will all have an opportunity to work toward resolution—not in a room back in D.C., but rather there in the communities with you as citizens and stakeholders directly.

We hope to engage in meaningful dialogue and really listen to the issues of concern and to understand the underlying values that are important to each of you, your neighbors and the communities at large.

We’re committed to openness and are looking forward to the dialogue and opportunities for resolution that may surface.

I have had the opportunity to meet with several of your elected officials and our Forest Service partners thus far, and I have been moved by their commitment to the land and all of you.

Your communities are proud and resilient.

We want you to know that the team and I will be engaging directly with those who submitted objections during this process and we are ready to listen.

I hope to meet many of you next week.

Kind regards,

Glenn Casamassa
Regional Forester;
USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Region

Source Information: Glenn Casamassa is the Regional Forest for the USDA Forest Service – Pacific Northwest Region, supervising operations and staff on all national forests and grassland in Oregon and Washington State. For more information about the Blue Mountains Forest Plan planning process and scheduled objections resolution meetings, visit:


Guest blog: Hungry, hungry caterpillars (WA DNR)

close-up of a male Douglas-fir Tussock moth catepillar, undated.

The USDA Forest Service – Pacific Northwest Region helps monitor forest health in Washington and Oregon via annual aerial forest health surveys, conducted in partnership with with the Washington State Dept. of Natural Resources and the Oregon Dept. of Forestry. When signs of a widespread disease or insect pest activity are detected, more intensive monitoring programs may be established.

In this guest post from Washington State DNR, the state agency discusses about its efforts to trap, monitor, and collect better data on the patterns surrounding one such insect which periodically impacts the health of trees, especially in eastern Washington – the Douglas-fir Tussock moth.

From Washington State DNR:

“The life of a Douglas-fir tussock moth is not an easy one. The females can’t fly, and food is often scarce, not to mention viruses that make them explode. What’s more difficult than being a tussock moth, is having those moths in your forest.

“Every ten years or so, the tussock moth population skyrockets in some areas of eastern Washington, well beyond what the forest can support. When that happens, these insects can eat so much that they literally kill the fir trees they feed on, sometimes up to 40 percent in a single stand. If a tree is lucky enough to survive the infestation, they’ll then be much more vulnerable to disease, pests and wildfire.

“Often when we talk about species that destroy forests, those species are invasive. They didn’t come from the areas they’re killing. The tussock moth is actually a native species here in Washington, so what causes their once-in-ten-year eating rampage? We know that historically, the event happens approximately every ten years, but with a potentially disastrous ecological hazard, being as precise as possible is very important…”

Read more, on the agency’s “Ear to the Ground” blog:

close up of a Douglas-fir Tussock moth on a conifer branch

An undated field photo of a male Douglas-fir Tussock moth. USDA Forest Service photo by David McComb (via

More information:

For more Douglas-fir Tussock Moth photos, check out this USDA Forest Service – Pacific Northwest Region Forest Health Flickr album:

For photos from annual aerial health forest survey conducted jointly by the USDA Forest Service and Washington State, and surveys conducted with the State of Oregon, visit:

Updated April 6: Seasonal, youth employment opportunities on NW national forests

A young adult man and a young adult woman wearing gloves and hardhats roll a large cut log segment from a trail

PORTLAND, Ore. — April 6, 2018 —Are you looking to spend your summer outdoors, and get paid doing it? The USDA Forest Service and its youth employment partner, the Northwest Youth Corps, are currently accepting applications for a number of temporary, seasonal, internship, and Americorps youth employment grant-funded positions in the Pacific Northwest.

Youth Conservation Corps: Deschutes National Forest, Ochoco National Forest & Crooked River National Grasslands

Central Oregon Youth Conservation Corps is accepting applications through May 1 from youth ages 15 to 18 for nearly 100 summer jobs on the Deschutes National Forest, Ochoco National Forest, and Crooked River National Grasslands.

A young man wearing gloves, safety glasses, and a hard hat aligns wire fencing between two wooden posts.

A Youth Conservation Corps crew member hangs wire fencing on Willamette National Forest July 30, 2012. USDA Forest Service photo.

The competitive summer program pays $10.75 an hour. Participants work 36 hours a week to conduct hands-on projects in Central Oregon’s beautiful forests and high deserts, including trail building, maintaining fences, piling hazardous fuels, restoring campgrounds, and improving wildlife habitat on National Forest System lands in Central Oregon.

The program runs from June 25th through Aug. 16th. Participants work 9 hours a day Monday through Thursday.

Crews meet daily in Bend, Redmond, Sisters, Prineville, La Pine, Crescent, Madras, and Warm Springs.

“This program is a really good way to get a foot in the door with all kinds of jobs that I didn’t even know existed,” said Kevin Perez, who now works for Wildland Fire and is a two-time graduate of Heart of Oregon’s COYCC summer program.

Applications must be received by May 1st and are available online at

For more information, contact Summer Program Coordinator Yancy Wilkenfeldt at (541) 633-7834 or Forest Service YCC Coordinator Paul Smith at (541) 416-6431.

Seasonal employment: Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest

The Forest Service is accepting applications for several spring and summer seasonal positons on the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest April 3-9, 2018.

Positions are available in a variety of fields, including natural resources, timber, fire and dispatch support, recreation, and visitor services. Duty locations include ranger districts in Cle Elum, Naches, Winthop and Tonasket, WA and forest service offices in East Wenatchee, WA and Moses Lake, WA.

Five employees wearing Forest Service uniforms pose inside a

A group of Forest Service employees step into a seasonally-appropriate frame to celebrate “Bat Week” during a youth education event at the Oregon Park Zoo Oct. 28, 2017 in Portland, OR. USDA Forest Service photo.

Applications must be submitted on If you have questions or need more information about a specific position,  contact the ranger district or office where the position is hosted:

  • Cle Elum Ranger District
    (509) 852-1101
  • Methow Valley Ranger District
    (509) 996-4003
  • Tonasket Ranger District
    (509) 486-2186
  • Naches Ranger District
    (509) 653-1401
  • East Wenatchee Dispatch Office
    (509) 884-3473
  • Moses Lake Tanker Base
    (509) 664-9346

More information about temporary employment in the Forest Service’s Pacific Northwest Region can be found at

Youth Conservation Corps: Umatilla National Forest

The Heppner Ranger District is recruiting four students ages of 15-18 for summer employment in the Youth Conservation Corps (YCC).

A uniformed Forest Service employee stands in the foreground on a paved lot. He appears to be speaking to the group. Three youth crew members are visible behind him.

A Youth Conservation Corps crew, led by a Forest Service employee, prepare to conduct a clean up and maintenance at Gold Creek Pond on the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest August 17, 2016. USDA Forest Service photo.

Work may include noxious weed removal, fence removal and construction, trail maintenance, meadow restoration, campground maintenance, slash piling, removal of tubing from tree seedlings, and fireline construction around logged units on the Heppner Ranger District.

Employment period is eight weeks, beginning June 18, 2018. Youth are paid the Oregon minimum wage of $10.25 per hour.  No previous experience is required.

Applications are available through the Forest Service office in Heppner, Ore. and at local high schools, and will be accepted through 2 p.m. on April 16, 2018. The positions will be filled via a random drawing later that day.

For more information, contact the Heppner Ranger District at (541) 676-9187. For more information about the Umatilla National Forest please visit

Northwest Youth Corps: Youth Program (all Pacific NW Forests)

Applications are now being accepted for daily and overnight Northwest Youth Corps summer program opportunities on national forests across the Pacific Northwest.

These opportunities area open to students ages 15-18. Many opportunities include daily or weekly transportation to the job or camp site from a nearby town, a chance to earn career certifications and school credit, and an educational stipend after successful completion of a 6-week summer program.

For more information, visit:

Northwest Youth Corps: Young Adult Program (Mt. Hood National Forest)

Northwest Service Corps youth stewardship jobs training opportunities are open to young adults age 19-24. The program is currently accepting applications for a Mount Hood National Forest -based youth crew, May 7– Oct. 5, 2018.

Participants will help meet the Northwest’s highest priority conservation needs – including wildfire reduction, non-native weed eradication, trail building, maintenance, while earning professional certifications needed to become part of the next generation of stewardship leaders.

Crewmembers receive an AmeriCorps living allowance and an education award at the end of their assignment to continue their education or training.

For more information about program eligibility and application guidelines, visit:

Northwest Youth Corps: Conservation Internships (region-wide)

The Northwest Service Corps is also seeking students ages 20-24 who are passionate about natural resources work for 3-10 month spring/summer internships in various conservation and science disciplines with federal agencies throughout the northwest.

Interns perform important field work in exchange for a living allowance and education award towards their continued studies.

Current opportunities include internships in North Bend, Ore. and surrounding counties for the Bureau of Land Management, and in the Willamette Valley for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

More information at :


The opportunities listed above are current as of April 2, April 6, 2018.

  • Find updated information or apply for Forest Service temporary and full-time career positions at
  • Current information about Northwest Youth Corps opportunities at
  • For more information about temporary and seasonal positions in the Pacific Northwest, including wildland firefighting and scholarship opportunities, visit
  • Students and young adults can find more information about opportunities available through the Pathways federal developmental hiring program, 21st Century Service Corps, Youth Conservation Corps, Job Corps and Resource Assistants programs at

A male firefighter wearing a protective yellow Nomex shirt and red helmet is in focus in the foreground, while a similiarly attired female firefighter carrying a radio stands beyond him in the background. Both are surrounded by gear mounted to wildland firefighting trucks.

Firefighters patrol during the Milli Fire August 22, 2017 in Deschutes National Forest near Sisters, OR. USDA Forest Service photo by Andrew R. Mitchell.