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January 21, 2013 Jeff Gilmore writes:
I started out as a CREC corps member in the spring of ’98 working on a 10-person crew for a 900 hour tour that carried into the fall. This was my first introduction to conservation work and I learned a host of new skills related to trail construction and maintenance, chainsaw operation and fuels reduction thinning, along with fencing and exotic plant identification and treatment. The season also provided my first experience working directly with land managers such as the Forest and Park Service, the Nature Conservancy, and the City of Flagstaff.
After the season ended, an opportunity came up to enroll in a second 900 hour tour working for the Sedona Ranger District along with five other corps members through the winter. While the other corps members served as the trail crew for the District, I worked with organized volunteer groups on weekly trail projects and filled in as a Wilderness Ranger though the season. The following spring, I was selected as a crew leader for CREC and moved back to Flagstaff to pass along the skills I had learned to the next round of corps members.
In the spring of 2000, I started my Forest Service career as the trails foreman for the Sedona Ranger District and spent just over a year there before moving on to work with the Blue Ridge Hotshot crew for the 2001 season. This was followed by my first permanent position with the Forest Service and a move to the Clifton Ranger District on the Apache-Sitgreaves NF. I spent a little over six years there working first in fire management and then back into recreation and trails. Over the last couple years on the District I was able to bring on several CREC crews for trails projects funded through AZ State Parks Recreation Trails Program.
By 2008 I was ready for a change and moved back to Sedona where I have been working in the outfitter-guide and recreation special uses program ever since. When I started out with CREC I was planning to go back to college for a second degree or master’s program, but wound up with a career in land management instead. My education vouchers from Americorps were eventually put to use to pay for a couple of NOLS courses to learn wilderness horse-packing and my initial wilderness first responder course.