Issues of concern to people who live in the west: property rights, water rights, endangered species, livestock grazing, energy production, wilderness and western agriculture. Plus a few items on western history, western literature and the sport of rodeo... Frank DuBois served as the NM Secretary of Agriculture from 1988 to 2003. DuBois is a former legislative assistant to a U.S. Senator, a Deputy Assistant Secretary of Interior, and is the founder of the DuBois Rodeo Scholarship.
Thursday, February 16, 2017
Smokey Bear lobby designed to stir young imaginations - Forest Service staff is proud of new entrance, gift shop and lobby
When children visit the Smokey Bear Ranger District office of the Lincoln National Forest, they come out smiling and carrying a few free momentoes of their time at the U.S. Forest Service station in Ruidoso, along with whatever toys, books and clothing their parents may buy in the lobby gift shop.
But just a few years ago, the situation was different.
As Customer Service Representative George Garnett recalled Wednesday, there was a time when the stop might have been a little boring for children. He wants the public to know that today it is worth their time to come inside. “According to Larry Cordova (district wildlife biologist), it all started back in the mid-2000s,” Garnett said. “He noticed that young people would come to the Smokey Bear Ranger District and he saw how excited they were when they came out of the car. But they would run into the ranger station and there really wasn’t anything exciting in there. All we had for them was maybe a comic book and a few little gifts. We didn’t have a gift shop or anything exciting inside to see.”
When Cordova was assigned to a district office in the state of Washington, it had a gift shop and he saw many others when visiting forests across the country. So he brought up the possibility of created a shop at the Cedar Creek Drive station office during a leadership meeting in Carlsbad about eight years ago, pointing out that the Smokey Bear District was where the famous bear icon actually was found during a forest fire. Of all places, the district should create a memorable experience, he argued, so that when people came inside, they were just as excited as when they got out of the car.
“They started developing plans with our U.S. Forest Service engineers to turn a meeting room (toward the front entrance of the station) into a gift center and larger lobby,” Garnett said. “We had a really small entrance before and we needed more room.” nside the lobby, gifts from the Public Land Interpretive Association are displayed on shelves along one wall with all different sizes of Smokey Bear toys from large stuffed animals to keychains, Garnett said. “We have caps, T-shirts, scarves, backpack, binoculars, puzzles, lots of books, calendars and stuffed animals of every orientation,” Garnett said...more
I know this may sound like an old Scrooge, but I wonder how much this entire renovation cost?
The forest reserves were created to "improve and protect" the forests "for the purpose of securing
favorable conditions of water flows, and to furnish a continuous supply of
timber for the use and necessities of citizens of the United States." I'm not sure how we got from there to making little kids happy.
The overall management of the forests is now controlled by the courts and the enviro law firms, so maybe the employees need something they can actually manage, like a gift shop. And now Smokey Bear has been adopted as the mascot of anti-Trump resistance.