(BEDFORD) — The U.S.D.A.’s Forest Service honored two employees of Hoosier National Forest today for their “dedication to preserving the unique and vital wilderness resource” of the Charles C. Deam Wilderness. The Bob Marshall Award for Individual Champion of Wilderness Stewardship was presented by Angela Coleman, acting associate Forest Service chief, at the National Wilderness Workshop hosted by the Society for Wilderness Stewardship. Award recipients were Stacy Duke, district recreation and wilderness manager, and Rod Fahl, wilderness ranger.
This award is named in honor of Bob Marshall, a wilderness activist who spoke about the social and environmental values of wilderness lands and helped form the Wilderness Society. It acknowledges those champions who continue in Bob Marshall’s footsteps by carrying forth a commitment for wilderness stewardship.
Stacy and Rod have worked hard to maintain the character of the only wilderness area in Indiana by reducing the impacts of visitor use and storms with a full-fledged approach. Rod helps maintain the Charles C. Deam Wilderness by leading the only stock team east of the Mississippi. The team of four mules performs a variety of tasks to maintain trails in both the Hoosier National Forest and the Shawnee National Forest in Illinois. Rod also demonstrates strong leadership and teaching skills as he guides and trains seasonal crews. In 2019 he worked with a crew over the course of five long days of crosscut saw work, to clear the popular Peninsula Trail, which was damaged by a severe storm. Rod continues to share his expertise by working alongside and guiding others in the wilderness community.
Stacy is deeply involved in coordinating wilderness projects, wilderness stewardship performance, and serves on the National Wilderness Information Management Team. She is diligent about securing and using resources to provide wilderness education and training opportunities whenever possible as demonstrated by her partnership with the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics over multiple years. Stacy also leads wilderness education activities independently as she has presented to her peers at the National Wilderness Workshop, presented to classes at Indiana University, and designed wilderness signage. Additionally, her role as media representative for the wilderness speaks to her genuine passion for and depth of knowledge of the Forest.
“Rod and Stacy have gone above and beyond to steward Indiana’s only designated wilderness and strengthened the community’s knowledge and investment in their public lands along the way,” said Mike Chaveas, forest supervisor. “Being located close to Bloomington, and partially along the shores of Monroe Lake, the natural and cultural resources of the Deam Wilderness face significant pressure from the recreating public and Rod and Stacy’s efforts are critical to protecting these resources and ensuring their availability for current and future generations to enjoy.”