WNF rangers cover lots of land

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 14, 2004

PEDRO - Ironton's Ranger District is the proverbial needle in the forested haystack that is the Wayne National Forest.

It takes the district and its employees lots of hard work and planning to maintain its section of nearly 100,000 acres of the forest land that is primarily scattered across Gallia, Scioto and Lawrence counties. But forest service employees do it with less than 20 full-time employees and another dozen part-timers in the

Senior Community Service Employment Program.

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Ask District Ranger Gloria Chrismer how they do it and she is quick to tell you that it is the quality of these employees that makes it possible.

"I think our people are outstanding. The work ethic is outstanding," she said. "We couldn't ask for a greater group of people to have on the district."

A native of Crockett, Texas, Chrismer came to this area from the Mark Twain National Forest in Salem, Mo. In spring of 2003, she came to the district temporarily and at that time had no thoughts of making the move permanent.

"After I got here, I really wanted to work here and the people was a big part of that," she said. "The people really cared about the resources and you have to have that to do a good job."

One of those people is Assistant District Ranger Mike Freidhof. He came to the Wayne, Ohio's only national forest which spans 12 counties, in the mid-1980s and moved on a few years later. When he had the chance to return in 2001, he jumped at the opportunity to come back to the region that reminds him of the Pennsylvania forests where he grew up.

"One thing I like about working on the Wayne is that compared to some forests it is small if you compare land-base but the forest is varied and diverse," he said. "You get to do a variety of things so it breaks up the day."

The Ranger Station located on State Route 93 provides a one-stop shop for people seeking information about the national forest that includes far more than just the well-known Lake Vesuvius Recreation Area. Several other lakes and the beautiful scenery attract visitors.

The district office provides lots of informational guides, maps, educational displays of what the Vesuvius Furnace once looked like and much more.

"The objective is to provide the tools for people to enhance their visit," Freidhof said.

So what makes this portion of the Wayne National Forest so appealing?

"The thing I think this forest provides is public land for people to use how they want," Freidhof said. "Whether you want to hunt, fish, hike, berry pick or mushroom hunt, you can do that and more."