Published November 4, 2022

With early winter weather dumping snow on forest restoration project areas in Chiloquin this week, Lomakatsi’s Tribal Youth Ecological Forestry Training Program crew has been in the Rogue Valley learning how to safely operate chainsaws. Our Fire Operations Manager Sean Voorhes led the 10 tribal youth ages 18-26 through a four-day National Wildfire Coordinating Group S-212 Wildland Fire Chainsaws course—required for sawyers who do ecological thinning work on federal land—beginning at the Lomakatsi office and then moving into the field for hands on training.

Yesterday Senator Jeff Golden and Representative Pam Marsh, who represent Ashland and the southern part of Jackson County in the Oregon State Legislature, stopped by the Lomakatsi office to meet the crew and visit with our leadership team. We discussed the growing challenges of megafires and climate change, and how involving youth and tribal members is an essential part of preparing landscapes and communities. Tribal crew participants shared what they have been learning over the past three weeks, and how the new skills and experience will help them care for their ancestral homelands in Klamath County and regionally. The crew spent the rest of the morning and afternoon practicing tree falling and bucking at a West Bear All-Lands Restoration Project site with guidance from Sean and Lomakatsi Crew Leader Joe Ochoa Jr., an enrolled member of The Klamath Tribes.

A big thank you to Senator Jeff Golden and Representative Pam Marsh for their leadership crafting the SB-762 legislation that included the Oregon Conservation Corps grant funding that makes this program possible, and for our dedicated team and tribal crew members for their time commitment and hard work through week three of our 18-week program!

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