Today: Jamie Lowe of Ely, a trails and volunteer coordinator with the U.S. Forest Service. Lowe was recently recognized with the Friend of the Trail Award by the North Country Trail Association for his commitment to the trail, which courses 4,600 miles over seven states including Minnesota.

Reading

If I get a chance to read, it is done in order by priority so catching up on e-mails after being in the field takes the cake. I like to sit down, when I get chores finished after the end of the day, and browse through the articles that come through on Google news stand.

Following

I need to keep in tune with the natural order of things and that dictates where I will go and what I will be doing. It take time to get to know an area like the Superior National Forest and in particular the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

My position offers a ton of variety, and that is what I love about it. But I need to plan well and prioritize and then be able to totally switch those plans on a moment’s notice. Knowing the use patterns of where people are at certain times of the year helps me to focus on where I will conduct a patrol. Or knowing which lakes are ice-free first or last can help me guide guest or trail crews as to where they can go to find what they are looking for. You always need to follow local weather forecast and seasonal patterns and base decisions upon those factors.

 

Listening

I stream Pandora a lot.

Doing

This time of year I keep pretty busy outdoors, with gardening, home improvements, yard work, hiking, canoeing, biking, baseball with kids. You have an urgency to get all the things you can get accomplished when the sunshine and weather are in your favor, when you live in a place that is winter half the year. Most days I stay active from sun up to sun down.

I grew up in southern Minnesota and always enjoyed spending my time outdoors hiking, fishing, hunting, snowboarding, camping, and biking. I have always had more hobbies than time and would feel pressured to get out and do those things — an obligation. Since I started working in my position as the trails and volunteer coordinator for the Kawishiwi Ranger District, those pressures have disappeared. I now spend a lot of time in the woods and get paid for it. What it comes down to is just being in nature absorbing all of the splendors that it provides gives me satisfaction at the end of the day and now I do not feel like I need to go hunting or fishing on my time off. Now, on my free time, I still enjoy keeping busy but I prefer to be productive whether it is working on my garden, my property or just raising my kids the best way I know how.

 

Collaborating

I am fortunate to work with a great group of people on the Kawishiwi. I always enjoy working with all of the different volunteers and showing them what I know. We are lucky to live and work in a place where folks have an interest in and want to help us maintain and improve our natural areas. We have some wonderful hiking and camping opportunities. If people are interested in becoming volunteers for the Superior National Forest, they can e-mail me at jamielowe@fs.fed.us for more information.