Career/experience at the USFS

Okhotnik

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Thanks for the responses. They confirm my hesitations. I think it is an idea that sounds good in my head but would leave me frustrated in practice.
Good luck getting hired as a straight white male now. I have a few friends that have put in over 20 years at USFS, Ive worked a few times with some rangers at the USFS over the years and I have over 30 with the G and prior military. . Pretty phugged up woke work culture now and over half the full time employees are retired on duty. A good majority of the employees spend most of their days concocting EEO complaints and lawsuits. This a govt wide problem and has worsened the past 2 years. If you have a good work ethic and fraud and incompetence bother you I would look elsewhere in private sector.
 
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nodakian

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Someone else mentioned this above, but I'll expand on it. The enviro types definitely have a large influence. It started back at least in the 80s, and as you can imagine, it has only gotten worse. For instance, a high school classmate got on the timber crew so she could mark as many leave trees (trees the loggers couldn't take) as possible. Another friend whose dad was a logger tried forestry school (U of MT) but it was so full of hate for loggers she quit.

I'm not reflexively partisan toward logging and other extractive industries as their desires and worst impulses need to be managed for our benefit, too. However, much of the USFS seems to have swung to the opposite end of stupid.

On the other hand, I still know some solid folks there, so it ain't all bad.
 

Pony Soldier

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I contacted the FS a few years ago about a road closure. I asked if they would put the closure in at a wide spot so I could turn a trailer around and use the trail. He said they had abandonded all those trails put in by the CCCs in the 30s. Hundreds of miles if not thousands of miles along the Idaho - Montana border.

When I hunted over there the maintenance was done by the locals and the outfitters.

If they don't allow logging, do thinning, maintain trails or put out fires then we are just paying them to annoy us.
 

5MilesBack

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I contacted the FS a few years ago about a road closure. I asked if they would put the closure in at a wide spot so I could turn a trailer around and use the trail.
A few years ago I was up scouting in July. There was a two-track spur that went off the main FS road that went almost all the way to the start of the wilderness boundary. It was still a good 1.5-2 mile hike from there to get into where I wanted to be for opening day. I went back the day before the season to pack in there and a couple hundred yards into an Aspen grove there was a fresh road closure with a FS sign on it. The closure was made with trees that had been cut down and stacked across the road. There was no possible place to turn around in that grove with the tight trees, and backing out in the dark would have been impossible.

But the more I thought about it, I think it was an outfitter that did it, that didn't want anyone else in that area of the wilderness. Closing the road where it did added another 2+ miles of a climb onto the pack-in. And it would have been real easy to put the closure at the entrance to the grove where there was plenty of room to turn around. None of it made any sense.
 

Salmonchaser

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Pendleton, Or
Nothing to add, like seeing someone build solid plans, and some well thought out feedback. Good luck. Perhaps you’re the man to get the forest service back on mission, at least as far as many of us are concerned,
 

BluMtn

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Washington
Having worked with the FS on trail planning for wilderness and ORV's it has been a constant battle with the FS. The interesting thing is the rules should be all the same over all the districts, but they are not. SE Washington FS districts are some of the hardest to work with. One of my local District Rangers was easy to work with, but he has now retired and I have not met the new head ranger because of the C word. The other local District Ranger would hide in his office and would not take an appointment with me. He has also retired and again I have not met his replacement due to the C word again. One of the major hurdles I must content with on all trails are the tribes must approve any request that I make for trails and so far they have not approved any new trail I have requested because it may have archaeological or historic significance.

I spend more time riding SxS's in Idaho because in my experience the FS Districts are much more friendly and willing to work with the public to make your stay as enjoyable as possible. I also enjoy working with the Idaho FS LEO's because they will stop and visit to make sure that you are enjoying your visit and if you need advise on were to ride they are more than helpful in giving you direction. I have received a $150 ticket and a bunch of grief from our local LEO because I did not cross a FS rode at a 90* angle. I crossed at a 45* angle to get to another rode. Its a struggle I am getting to old to want to fight about anymore.

As mentioned above the days of the good ol boys FS is gone. Now all you see are woke tree huggers wanting to gate the forest off from the public so nobody walks on their land.
 

Okhotnik

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Having worked with the FS on trail planning for wilderness and ORV's it has been a constant battle with the FS. The interesting thing is the rules should be all the same over all the districts, but they are not. SE Washington FS districts are some of the hardest to work with. One of my local District Rangers was easy to work with, but he has now retired and I have not met the new head ranger because of the C word. The other local District Ranger would hide in his office and would not take an appointment with me. He has also retired and again I have not met his replacement due to the C word again. One of the major hurdles I must content with on all trails are the tribes must approve any request that I make for trails and so far they have not approved any new trail I have requested because it may have archaeological or historic significance.

I spend more time riding SxS's in Idaho because in my experience the FS Districts are much more friendly and willing to work with the public to make your stay as enjoyable as possible. I also enjoy working with the Idaho FS LEO's because they will stop and visit to make sure that you are enjoying your visit and if you need advise on were to ride they are more than helpful in giving you direction. I have received a $150 ticket and a bunch of grief from our local LEO because I did not cross a FS rode at a 90* angle. I crossed at a 45* angle to get to another rode. Its a struggle I am getting to old to want to fight about anymore.

As mentioned above the days of the good ol boys FS is gone. Now all you see are woke tree huggers wanting to gate the forest off from the public so nobody walks on their land.
Perhaps BHA should start a go fund me to open up more FS roads and public land for disabled hunters?
 

BluMtn

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Washington
^^^^^^^ In SE Washington the FS and game dept. do that on some of their gated roads. I was walking down an old unused logging road and noticed fresh tire tracks. Got down about a mile to the end of the road and here was a jeep. The trail head started right next to the jeep, started up the trail and went about 200 yrds and here were two older gentleman sitting next to the trail. Stopped and ask if that was their jeep and ask how they got around the gate and they told me they were on a handicap hunt and the FS gave them the key to get through the gate. I then ask them what they were going to do if they got an elk. Their reply was "we will wait and see if we get anything then we will worry about it". They smiled and I went on my way. When I came out that night they were gone.
 

justinspicher

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I did three seasons with the FS starting three days into retirement after the mil. Got a position with a trail crew that was also a fire militia crew. Started as a GS3…..got to GS4 the next season and stayed a GS4 but was a permanent hire on an engine crew. Job was fun, but working with a bunch of useless kids got old real quick. I got tied of the BS and working 16+ hours days and making less than I do on retirement. Went after a contracting gig and things are way better.
 

Billinsd

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To add on to what everyone else is saying, the Forest Circus in Southern California and Mammoth is a total joke. There are a scant handful of great people I've met and worked with, but it's awful. I would imagine it's a bit better in other states like most things. You'd want to have tons and tons of patience for all the idiocy.
 
OP
SWOHTR

SWOHTR

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Unfortunately I can relate to a lot of what you've all said.

-Concocting EEO complaints. The military equivalent is EO/SH (equal opportunity/sexual harassment). I had to deal with this a few years ago on my shore tour, I was the EO/SH complaint coordinator, managed our program and the annual survey. Fun times...not. It's unfortunate, the willingness of people to be "victims" and the sense of pride that goes with it (don't get me wrong, there ARE legitimate complaints sometimes...most of them made up though).
-Useless kids. Yep, deal with that all the time on the ship. Fortunately, my engineers are worth a damn. Topsiders on the other hand...largely useless in this shipyard environment. So interested and invested in their cell phones. Go clean the damn ship.
-Native affairs and "woke environmentalists." I'm even dealing with that too! You all know how hard it is to fuel a ship inport Seattle? You put a drip of anything other than seawater into Puget Sound and the threat of crucifixion is real.

All that to say I can appreciate the struggles you all have illustrated to me. They are things I wish to avoid in my future endeavors. So with that, I think employment by the USFS is out, unfortunately.

That said - who has contracting experience with them? How is the contracting process and working with the gov't? How is the payout? What kind of work does the USFS contract out - trail maintenance? Infrastructure management and repair? Who are some of the big contracting corporations that see nationwide success in winning bids?
 

BuzzH

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Wyoming
Been so horrid advice given on this thread in particular the benefit package in regard to government employment. The pay itself is 10-20% lower than equal work in the private sector. But the retirement is very good. Non fire related work is 30 year retirement multiplier of 1.1 percent times years of service based on your high 3 average. Whoever the 🤡 is that said the tsp isn't very good is high on cat shit. The fees for managing it are extremely low, there are multiple investment options and the match is dollar for dollar on 3% of gross, 50 cents on the dollar for another 2% and the 1% automatic for a total of 5% match. Anyone that doesn't get the 5% match is an idiot. The c fund tracks the s&p 500 and if in doubt throw it in there. The S fund last year had 78% growth, and everyone knows what the s&p did. My personal return last year was 54.6%...invested in 4 tsp funds. I've contributed 20% of my gross income into the tsp osince I started.

Another benefit is the social security offset if you retire after 30 years but are under 62...assuming you're under the FERS retirement system. Nice to draw a large percentage of your ss before you reach 62.

Also the insurance premiums you pay for health insurance are the same after retirement. If your spouse is on your plan 5 years or more before you retire they keep coverage as well. Meaning for about 500 a month out of pocket you have great health insurance until Medicare kicks in.

Leave is 8 hours a pay period with 26 pay periods...208 hours a year. Sick leave accrues at 4 hours a pay period and is paid out as a percentage toward years of service at retirement.

If you can keep a field related job it's a great career...I have no regrets.
 

gbflyer

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Unfortunately I can relate to a lot of what you've all said.

-Concocting EEO complaints. The military equivalent is EO/SH (equal opportunity/sexual harassment). I had to deal with this a few years ago on my shore tour, I was the EO/SH complaint coordinator, managed our program and the annual survey. Fun times...not. It's unfortunate, the willingness of people to be "victims" and the sense of pride that goes with it (don't get me wrong, there ARE legitimate complaints sometimes...most of them made up though).
-Useless kids. Yep, deal with that all the time on the ship. Fortunately, my engineers are worth a damn. Topsiders on the other hand...largely useless in this shipyard environment. So interested and invested in their cell phones. Go clean the damn ship.
-Native affairs and "woke environmentalists." I'm even dealing with that too! You all know how hard it is to fuel a ship inport Seattle? You put a drip of anything other than seawater into Puget Sound and the threat of crucifixion is real.

All that to say I can appreciate the struggles you all have illustrated to me. They are things I wish to avoid in my future endeavors. So with that, I think employment by the USFS is out, unfortunately.

That said - who has contracting experience with them? How is the contracting process and working with the gov't? How is the payout? What kind of work does the USFS contract out - trail maintenance? Infrastructure management and repair? Who are some of the big contracting corporations that see nationwide success in winning bids?

I’ve done both RFQ and IDIQ contracts with them and subbed. In my world it’s all about being able to work with the COR. Civil construction and maintenance is extremely competitive, lots of government work gets done for next to nothing unless it’s classified 8A negotiated then it’s a gravy train for the general. With their current MO of contracting out design to a low-bid term contractor, any and all changes are a complete and utter nightmare and things that are obviously wrong, sometimes not even construct-able are built anyway in order not to have to pay for a redesign.

Sorry, I’m pretty negative about it in general.
 

Felix40

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New Mexico
A few years ago I was up scouting in July. There was a two-track spur that went off the main FS road that went almost all the way to the start of the wilderness boundary. It was still a good 1.5-2 mile hike from there to get into where I wanted to be for opening day. I went back the day before the season to pack in there and a couple hundred yards into an Aspen grove there was a fresh road closure with a FS sign on it. The closure was made with trees that had been cut down and stacked across the road. There was no possible place to turn around in that grove with the tight trees, and backing out in the dark would have been impossible.

But the more I thought about it, I think it was an outfitter that did it, that didn't want anyone else in that area of the wilderness. Closing the road where it did added another 2+ miles of a climb onto the pack-in. And it would have been real easy to put the closure at the entrance to the grove where there was plenty of room to turn around. None of it made any sense.
Sounds like you were driving on a road made by people driving in to an area where there was previously not a road. The problem with putting road closed signs in wide open spots is that people will just drive around them until there is a new road made.
 

Okhotnik

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Unfortunately I can relate to a lot of what you've all said.

-Concocting EEO complaints. The military equivalent is EO/SH (equal opportunity/sexual harassment). I had to deal with this a few years ago on my shore tour, I was the EO/SH complaint coordinator, managed our program and the annual survey. Fun times...not. It's unfortunate, the willingness of people to be "victims" and the sense of pride that goes with it (don't get me wrong, there ARE legitimate complaints sometimes...most of them made up though).
-Useless kids. Yep, deal with that all the time on the ship. Fortunately, my engineers are worth a damn. Topsiders on the other hand...largely useless in this shipyard environment. So interested and invested in their cell phones. Go clean the damn ship.
-Native affairs and "woke environmentalists." I'm even dealing with that too! You all know how hard it is to fuel a ship inport Seattle? You put a drip of anything other than seawater into Puget Sound and the threat of crucifixion is real.

All that to say I can appreciate the struggles you all have illustrated to me. They are things I wish to avoid in my future endeavors. So with that, I think employment by the USFS is out, unfortunately.

That said - who has contracting experience with them? How is the contracting process and working with the gov't? How is the payout? What kind of work does the USFS contract out - trail maintenance? Infrastructure management and repair? Who are some of the big contracting corporations that see nationwide success in winning bids?
Thanks for input. As a supv of 9 agents in in DOJ I can't begin to tell you of the disfunction now in our govt run services. There is always money to be made in contracting( and I have done it with a TS Sci clearance) with the US Govt. Just have to ask yourself if you want to sell your soul.
 

Okhotnik

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N ID
I’ve done both RFQ and IDIQ contracts with them and subbed. In my world it’s all about being able to work with the COR. Civil construction and maintenance is extremely competitive, lots of government work gets done for next to nothing unless it’s classified 8A negotiated then it’s a gravy train for the general. With their current MO of contracting out design to a low-bid term contractor, any and all changes are a complete and utter nightmare and things that are obviously wrong, sometimes not even construct-able are built anyway in order not to have to pay for a redesign.

Sorry, I’m pretty negative about it in general.
you get it.
 
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