Alright friends, here is where I am at.
Summer is officially over, and the blazing sun has now been traded with freezing rain. I’m an Arizona baby, so this new take on “cold” will definitely be interesting.
If you ever wondered what the government lets you do during your free time – well…it’s pretty much anything (that has to do with driving out to the middle of nowhere on BLM roads). Driving, driving, driving. All day everyday. To every far, reaching corner of the field office, and the Twin Falls District Field Office is enormous. Most days, I am driving out to scout and map out Wyoming Sagebrush sites for one last SOS harvest that’ll occur early November, and then on the other days, it is of course catching up in the office with all the data management and herbarium mounting that needs to occur.
As a tech/intern, it feels as though my job is to be the “eyes on the ground.” All of the monitoring and mapping has really shown to me that a large part of land management is simply keeping up with the land & making sure our data is up to date. Without a doubt, I can definitely see the importance of this, but not going to lie – some days – it is exhausting when the majority of your 10 hour days are spent driving in the car. So, with that said, I have come up with some handy dandy tips that I hope you find helpful.
The Ins and Outs of BLM Roads: A Survival Guide
- Podcasts & Music: No brainer. I hope you/your coworkers enjoy the same taste and I am sincerely sorry if you don’t find any common ground. Honestly…sad violin playing for you.
- Spark some interesting and deep conversations with your coworkers about life: YES. We are all thinking it. You worried about what you are doing with your life? Um. Who isn’t? Plus, people in this field tend to be very very understanding, compassionate, and awesome people to talk to. This makes the time go by so fast, and always lifts some of that stress off of your chest. Do it. (*Side note: obviously use your best judgement when deciding if it would be appropriate to have this type of conversation with whomever is in the car).
- Stop the car for anything. This is now a moving tour. There have been multiple occasions when I have been out in the field with my mentor or simply encouraged by her to check out something or a place in the field office simply because it was cool. Wildlife. Roadside botany. A strange looking thing that you thought was something else. You name it. The car can be stopped. You are in no hurry. Stretch out your legs and be curious. Or be like me – and just enjoy the view.
- 4 WHEEL DRIVE ROADS CANNOT BE TRUSTED – Take at your own risk or better yet find the guru in the office that miraculously knows every dirt road like the back of their hand. And, if you’re already out there – make sure you still have plenty of time – just in case you have to turn around. But really, who wants to do that? So go forth only if you have 100% confidence!
- Straddle the rut or divet in the road. Pro tip.
- BLM roads are like a labyrinth & once you go deeper – prepare yourself -because it is an abyss!
Well, if you ever find yourself in this situation. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Happy driving fellow CBGs 🙂