Avon talk discusses role of the Forest Service | VailDaily.com

Avon talk discusses role of the Forest Service

Leslie Weldon
Office of Communications-Creative Services Center-Photography Services Division | United States Department of Agri

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What: Impact of the Forest Service

Who: Leslie Weldon, Deputy Chief of the National Forest System

When: Thursday beginning with 6:30 p.m. reception, followed by 7 p.m. presentation

Where: Walking Mountains Science Center, Avon Campus

How much: Free | $10 suggested donation

AVON — Federal forest management dates back to 1876 when the U.S. Department of Agriculture set out to assess the quality of forests in the United States. In 1891 Congress passed the Forest Reserve Act, authorizing presidents to designate public lands as “Forest Reserves.”

In 1905 President Theodore Roosevelt transferred the care of these forests to a new office within the Department of Agriculture – the U.S. Forest Service – where it continues to stand today.

The beauty of the forests surrounding the Vail Valley helps sustain the livelihoods of those living here. Managing these forests in a way that allows them to be accessible for all, yet maintain their alluring vibrancy is no small task.

That challenge is the topic of discussion on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at the Walking Mountains Science Center, where the Vail Symposium, in partnership with Walking Mountains, will present Leslie Weldon, Deputy Chief of the National Forest System.

Weldon will discuss the agency’s recent challenges and initiatives to preserve and restore nationally treasured lands, including local initiatives such as the restoration of the headwaters of the Eagle River at Camp Hale.

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Weldon’s 30-year career with the Forest Service began as a summer hire on the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest in Washington fighting fire and surveying wildlife. She has held regional and national biologist positions, as Liaison to the U.S. Army and as Executive Policy Assistant to former Forest Service Chief Michael Dombeck.

As Deputy Chief of the National Forest System, Weldon manages projects for 155 national forests and 20 grasslands in the United States. In total, she oversees 193 million acres of forests and grasslands.

“We are extremely fortunate to have Leslie (Weldon) visit and share her wealth of knowledge about for Forest Service,” said Tracey Flower, the Symposium’s executive director. “She will have great insight into not just why we protect our forests, but also how the Forest Service does it.”

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