Intermountain Trails: February 2015

February 2015                                                               Volume 4, Issue 2
USDA Forest Service -- Intermountain Region

Forest in Focus: Caribou-Targhee National Forest

Forest Supervisor - Garth Smelser

Picture of Garth Smelser and his daughters

In both my military and Forest Service journeys, I have had the pleasure of traversing a diversity of life’s trails through job changes, travel, and associated adventures. Just recently reporting to the Caribou-Targhee National Forest and Curlew National Grasslands as the Forest Supervisor, I’m blessed with yet another opportunity to embark on new trails of renewal and discovery.

While I have not yet had the time to explore the many miles of actual Forest trails, my family and I did seize a sunny autumn day for a short jaunt along the Teton Basin Ranger District’s Sheep Bridge Trail. Even at the snail’s pace of my three flower-picking, tag-playing, shrieking-with-delight daughters, I was able to stretch my legs and fill my lungs with the rejuvenating reasons trails are so important to many of us. Like our winding life paths, Forest trails present endless opportunities to connect in very life-giving and awe-inspiring ways with things bigger than ourselves. Oddly enough, our globally linked daily lives don’t often provide us the same benefits.

The faces of my three young trail-blazers while on our recent hike remind me why our National Forest trails remain evermore necessary in a modern world of digitally focused and sedentary lifestyles—the opportunity to connect. When we unplug, look up from our screens, and take that first trail step, our physical, social, and spiritual connections suddenly multiply. The Caribou-Targhee National Forest and Curlew National Grasslands provides its visitors with the gift of thousands of miles of such connections. I am thrilled to serve as a steward of this resource, and I hope you have an opportunity to experience and share what connections are out there waiting.


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