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New forest supervisor dedicated to service

Dan McDonald
Staff Writer
10/5/2011

 

During his nearly 40-year U.S. Forest Service career Earl Ford has lived by a simple philosophy — care for the land and serve the people.

“I’m totally committed to that,” the new supervisor of the Plumas National Forest said. “We don’t always hit the mark, but that is what we are striving for.”

After 20 years at the Gifford Pinchot National Forest in Vancouver, Wash., Ford took over the top Plumas National Forest post Sept. 19.

He replaced Alice Carlton, who left after nearly five years to become supervisor of the Umpqua National Forest in Roseburg, Ore.

Ford was a longtime natural resources staff officer on the Gifford Pinchot. And he left a lasting impression for his work in the community.

“The Gifford Pinchot will not be the same place without Earl,” Gifford Pinchot Forest Supervisor Janine Clayton wrote on the Forest Service website. “We have all benefited from his tenure on the forest and wish him every success in his new endeavor.”

Ford, who said he grew up poor on a farm in Louisiana, has been very active in the community.

He was a leader with the NAACP in Vancouver. He also spent time making sure underserved city kids had a chance to experience the forest.

Ford said he is a history buff, and also enjoys sightseeing and photography in his spare time.

It’s easy to see why Ford will be missed at his former post. His strong work ethic is coated with a likeable, easy-going personality. He is quick to flash a smile after a fond tale about growing up in a town of 300 people on the Mississippi River Delta.

“My dad was very strict about working,” Ford recalled of his days on a farm in Jones, La. “We called it the ‘can until you can’t.’ That meant we worked from the time in the morning when you can see until the end of the day when you can’t see anymore.”

Ford said he could already tell the Plumas National Forest is a great place to work.

“My goal is to help continue that,” Ford said. “My wife Cynthia and I have been very impressed by how friendly people have been and how welcome everyone has made us feel.”

The Fords have five grown children. He said Cynthia, who works for Safeway, would be tending to their Vancouver home until she joins Earl in January.

“My wife is a neat freak,” Ford said with a chuckle. “Now I will have a bachelor pad for a while. I don’t have to make my bed if I don’t want to.”

Ford said he knows he has a big job on his hands being in charge of this forest.

But before he tackles sensitive issues like the controversial Travel Management Plan, he wants to explore his new surroundings.

His first weekend in town, Ford and Cynthia drove around Lake Almanor.

“We were very impressed with that area,” Ford said. “My plan for getting to know the forest is to do a series of drives during the week.

“On weekends especially, I plan on going a different direction. This week I’m planning to go toward Beckwourth. After that I plan to drive the other direction toward Oroville.”

Ford knows what it is like to travel. Prior to his long tenure in Washington, he worked in six states and Puerto Rico.

The traveling began as soon as he left the farm.

Ford said he was the first person in his mother’s family to go to college. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in agronomy (the science of producing and using plants for food, fuel, feed, fiber and reclamation) from Southern University in Baton Rouge, La. He received a master’s degree in public administration from the University of San Francisco.

Ford began his work with the forest service as a soil scientist in Nebraska.

His first full-time forest service stint as a soil scientist was 1975 in East Texas.

He then traveled to North Carolina and eventually to the Caribbean National Forest in Puerto Rico, where he was a staff officer in charge of timber, soil and water.

“It is called ‘El Yunque,’ a rain forest,” Ford said. “It was a great assignment. We were headquartered in a little area right outside of San Juan.”

Ford then left the extreme heat for the extreme cold when he was transferred to Juneau, Alaska, in 1980.

There he was in charge of soil correlation. “And I set up their first watershed improvement needs inventory.”

Ford took that watershed experience to San Francisco in 1986, where he became the watershed improvement program manager for Region 5.

“I helped set up one of the early versions of the watershed improvement needs database,” Ford said.

His next stop was the Gifford Pinchot. Ford went there as an ecosystem staff officer.

“I managed all of the natural resource programs except for timber,” Ford said. “And through downsizing and attrition, I eventually managed the timber program.”

Before Ford left, he took on the added duties of managing soil, water, air, wildlife, fish resources and land management planning.

The experience has prepared him for the biggest responsibility of his professional career — managing the Plumas National Forest.

“It’s a big job because of all the complexity of the forest and all of the resources we have,” Ford said. “We’ve got road issues. We’ve got recreation issues. We’ve got user conflicts. We’ve got special uses in the forest that are big. And then we have the normal restoration issues.”

Ford has been on the job for just a week. He said he is still learning about the problems he will be expected to help solve.

One thing he wants to preserve is the work environment.

“I want to help keep the Plumas National Forest a great place to work,” Ford said.

He said declining budgets could make that goal a challenge.

“It’s not an easy matter,” Ford said. “But I think we can do it.”

Ford said he is committed to the philosophy of Gifford Pinchot, the man. It’s the way he envisions his role in Plumas County.

“Try to do the greatest good for the greatest number in the long run,” Ford said. “I’m totally committed to that.”

Ford 1234

10-5

 

with photo

 

New forest supervisor dedicated to service

 

Dan McDonald

Staff Writer

dmcdonald@plumasnews.com

 

During his nearly 40-year U.S. Forest Service career Earl Ford has lived by a simple philosophy — care for the land and serve the people.

“I’m totally committed to that,” the new supervisor of the Plumas National Forest said. “We don’t always hit the mark, but that is what we are striving for.”

After 20 years at the Gifford Pinchot National Forest in Vancouver, Wash., Ford took over the top Plumas National Forest post Sept. 19.

He replaced Alice Carlton, who left after nearly five years to become supervisor of the Umpqua National Forest in Roseburg, Ore.

Ford was a longtime natural resources staff officer on the Gifford Pinchot. And he left a lasting impression for his work in the community.

“The Gifford Pinchot will not be the same place without Earl,” Gifford Pinchot Forest Supervisor Janine Clayton wrote on the forest service website. “We have all benefited from his tenure on the forest and wish him every success in his new endeavor.”

Ford, who said he grew up poor on a farm in Louisiana, has been very active in the community.

He was a leader with the NAACP in Vancouver. He also spent time making sure underserved city kids had a chance to experience the forest.

Ford said he is a history buff, and also enjoys sightseeing and photography in his spare time.

It’s easy to see why Ford will be missed at his former post. His strong work ethic is coated with a likeable, easy-going personality. He is quick to flash a smile after a fond tale about growing up in a town of 300 people on the Mississippi River Delta.

“My dad was very strict about working,” Ford recalled of his days on a farm in Jones, La. “We called it the ‘can until you can’t.’ That meant we worked from the time in the morning when you can see until the end of the day when you can’t see anymore.”

Ford said he could already tell the Plumas National Forest is a great place to work.

“My goal is to help continue that,” Ford said. “My wife Cynthia and I have been very impressed by how friendly people have been and how welcome everyone has made us feel.”

The Fords have five grown children. He said Cynthia, who works for Safeway, would be tending to their Vancouver home until she joins Earl in January.

“My wife is a neat freak,” Ford said with a chuckle. “Now I will have a bachelor pad for a while. I don’t have to make my bed if I don’t want to.”

Ford said he knows he has a big job on his hands being in charge of this forest.

But before he tackles sensitive issues like the controversial Travel Management Plan, he wants to explore his new surroundings.

His first weekend in town, Ford and Cynthia drove around Lake Almanor.

“We were very impressed with that area,” Ford said. “My plan for getting to know the forest is to do a series of drives during the week.

“On weekends especially, I plan on going a different direction. This week I’m planning to go toward Beckwourth. After that I plan to drive the other direction toward Oroville.”

Ford knows what it is like to travel. Prior to his long tenure in Washington, he worked in six states and Puerto Rico.

The traveling began as soon as he left the farm.

Ford said he was the first person in his mother’s family to go to college. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in agronomy (the science of producing and using plants for food, fuel, feed, fiber and reclamation) from Southern University in Baton Rouge, La. He received a master’s degree in public administration from the University of San Francisco.

Ford began his work with the forest service as a soil scientist in Nebraska.

His first full-time forest service stint as a soil scientist was 1975 in East Texas.

He then traveled to North Carolina and eventually to the Caribbean National Forest in Puerto Rico, where he was a staff officer in charge of timber, soil and water.

“It is called ‘El Yunque,’ a rain forest,” Ford said. “It was a great assignment. We were headquartered in a little area right outside of San Juan.”

Ford then left the extreme heat for the extreme cold when he was transferred to Juneau, Alaska, in 1980.

There he was in charge of soil correlation. “And I set up their first watershed improvement needs inventory.”

Ford took that watershed experience to San Francisco in 1986, where he became the watershed improvement program manager for Region 5.

“I helped set up one of the early versions of the watershed improvement needs database,” Ford said.

His next stop was the Gifford Pinchot. Ford went there as an ecosystem staff officer.

“I managed all of the natural resource programs except for timber,” Ford said. “And through downsizing and attrition, I eventually managed the timber program.”

Before Ford left, he took on the added duties of managing soil, water, air, wildlife, fish resources and land management planning.

The experience has prepared him for the biggest responsibility of his professional career — managing the Plumas National Forest.

“It’s a big job because of all the complexity of the forest and all of the resources we have,” Ford said. “We’ve got road issues. We’ve got recreation issues. We’ve got user conflicts. We’ve got special uses in the forest that are big. And then we have the normal restoration issues.”

Ford has been on the job for just a week. He said he is still learning about the problems he will be expected to help solve.

One thing he wants to preserve is the work environment.

“I want to help keep the Plumas National Forest a great place to work,” Ford said.

He said declining budgets could make that goal a challenge.

“It’s not an easy matter,” Ford said. “But I think we can do it.”

Ford said he is committed to the philosophy of Gifford Pinchot, the man. It’s the way he envisions his role in Plumas County.

“Try to do the greatest good for the greatest number in the long run,” Ford said. “I’m totally committed to that.”


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