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Joby Timm Interview

Joby TimmJoby Timm is the new Area Ranger of the Sawtooth NRA, with a degree as a landscape architect from North Dakota. At the time we conducted this interview, in the summer of 2012, Timm had only been on the job for about six months. Bruce Reichert conducted this interview in the summer of 2012.

What's your take on this part of the country?
It's really what you don't see that makes this place so special and unique. Right now I've been working on developing partnerships, connections, working with local community groups and different agencies and just kind of learning who the players are in the area. I think the Sawtooth National Recreation Area probably has one of the finest staff that I've ever worked with in the Forest Service so it's been a real pleasure just getting here. I moved here, I got married, moved my new bride over, and things have been pretty good ever since.

Do you have a plan to improve the Sawtooth NRA?
That's going to be tough improving on what folks have been working on for the last 40 years. Since I've been here, I've identified three areas that I could foresee us trying to improve on.

Number one is our partnerships. We have such passionate partners right now. We have great working relationships with a variety of groups — the Sawtooth Society, the Sawtooth Interpretive and Historical Association, Blaine County Recreation Districts — all spectacular and tremendous partners. So I can see us with our reduced budgets and reduced personnel, developing those partnerships to be more efficient and to help us accomplish our mission.

"This is probably the premier location to be as a Forest Service employee in our national forest system, so I'm very honored to be here."Number two is our developed and dispersed recreation. As a national recreation area, we want to provide world class recreation to our visitors. And I think we have a lot of visitor opportunities, from solitude in the wilderness to boating at Red Fish Lake. So I could see us working to just maintain and improve those facilities that we have.

If you drive up and down the roads, there's an opportunity there for us to improve and replace a lot of our signs. We have approximately 750 miles of existing trails right now that always need maintenance. Of those trails, most of them are at a more advanced level, so one of the things that I think you will see on the NRA in the next 5 years or so is working with our partners to develop some more beginner and intermediate type of trail use for folks.

The third area that I foresee us continuing to work on is watershed restoration. Right now we're doing a lot of work in the Pole Creek area, stream bank restoration, timber management, grazing management.

In the Pole Creek area there are a lot of old timber roads, user created paths and roads and trails. One of the opportunities is to restore some of those trails and provide more of a sustainable trail system in that area. There are some trail bridges planned for the Pole Creek project. And that's another opportunity for our partners to work with us on some of that road restoration work. We'll put the bridge abutments in and the stringers; and then we have partnership groups that will come in and lay the decking and help us with a lot of that work. That's one of our areas that we really need to capitalize on. The people in the Sawtooth valley and the Wood River valley have such a passion for their outdoor recreational experience that it's a great opportunity for us to work with them to accomplish mutual goals.

Joby Timm and Forest Service colleagues at Galena OverlookPartnerships are going to be our way to sustain what we want to do and to achieve our mission that we have as an agency. And we're fortunate to have so many passionate people who share our mission and our goals, and they want to see the Forest Service succeed in doing things.

For a ranger, how does the Sawtooth NRA stack up?
It really is the jewel of the Forest Service. This is probably the premier location to be as a Forest Service employee in our national forest system, so I'm very honored to be here.

But you're situated between two very different counties, Blaine and Custer. That can't be easy.
Each county has its unique challenges and opportunities and different perspectives and attitudes and different issues in each county. That's part of why I'm here and why Becky Nourse has given the support to just sit and listen and talk and work through anything that we need to work through. It's been good so far.