U.S. Air Force Training on the Three Rivers Ranger District

U.S. Air Force LogoIn 1964, in response to the Vietnam War, the government began to look for new ways to train their Airman and joint partners. The Air Force’s Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (SERE) School at the Fairchild Air Force Base in Spokane looked to Federal lands nearby and decided that the Colville National Forest would best suit their training needs. They then began a relationship with the Newport-Sullivan Lake Ranger District to set up training opportunities on the Tacoma and Ruby Creek drainages. The citizens could hear, for the first time, the helicopter performing search procedures from above and the sounds of approximately 60 personnel working in the drainages in small groups. This came to be a normal occurrence for the residents near Tacoma and Ruby Creek drainages. All of this will be different this year due to timber harvest happening in those drainages.

In autumn of 2020 the Air Force will be using a new location within Colville National Forest. They will be training on the North Fork Chewelah Creek up Sand Canyon Road on the Three River Ranger District. With this, comes some changes to the local area from August until April. Changes that up until now people have only seen during summer and a hand full of week-long winter trainings. Citizens will see specialized equipment used in trainings and they will hear the helicopter flying overhead. The animals in these portions of the Forest will be affected by the noise created by the students and machines.  But, with all of that, the Air Force does its best to reduce their impact on the local recreation and hunting areas. They also rotate training areas so as not to overstress the environment or wildlife. In addition, they want to be good neighbors by treating everyone and everything with respect.

The Air Force’s SERE School asks that if you see them in the field to please simply wave or have a brief greeting before moving on to your destination. For any questions or concerns you can contact Air Force Community Relations online, or by phone at (509) 247-5705.

U.S. Air Force News Release

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