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1980Holiday Letter 2000

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  • Richa Wilson
    Dec 30, 2000
      259 Blakeland Drive
      Spring Creek, NV 89815

      30 December 2000

      Dear Friends and Family,

      In keeping with my one-year old tradition of writing a "holiday letter"
      rather than Christmas cards, I send you this with best wishes for the New
      Year. The old one passed so quickly, but I will negotiate fuzzy memories
      and update you as well as possible.

      My work with the US Forest Service continues to be interesting and
      challenging. Other duties were placed on my plate as I tried to finish
      documenting our historic buildings and evaluating them for historic
      significance. Our Deputy Forest Supervisor asked me to serve as Team Leader
      of an interdisciplinary team in conducting a watershed analysis and develop
      a master recreation plan for Lamoille Canyon. Since one doesn't say no to
      such requests, I quickly learned what a watershed analysis is. The canyon,
      located near Elko, is a beautiful and popular recreation area that is home
      to alpine vegetation, bighorn sheep, mountain goats and several species of
      rare birds. It was a pleasure to work with the team, which consisted of
      several specialists. As a result, I've learned a tremendous amount about
      hydrology, geology, wildlife biology, fisheries, and general ecology.
      Working with people in different disciplines is really stimulating and one
      of the advantages of working for the Forest Service.

      Part of the summer was taken up with firefighting work. As you may know, it
      was a terrible year for fires and all employees (even architectural
      historians) were called on to help. I pulled some long shifts at the
      Interagency Fire Dispatch, which proved to be fascinating and educational.
      Unfortunately, a helicopter crashed and a young man was killed during my
      first shift. In the coming year, I hope to get my "red card," which will
      allow me to work in the fire camps. This will require a 1-week firefighting
      course and a fitness test. (I'm really worried about the latter, as I've
      been sitting on my butt for way too long.)

      Most recently, I've been consumed by historic research on a road that was
      washed out in a 1995 flood. Thrilling, I know. Actually, this road has
      been in the national news (even NPR) because Elko County claims it is their
      road because it was there before the National Forest was created. As a
      result, the county states, they can rebuild it without taking the National
      Environmental Protection Act or the Endangered Species Act into
      consideration. I won't go into the details, but my role has been to
      determine if the road was there before the forest was established in 1905.
      I've really enjoyed researching and writing about it, but am now a bit
      stressed because I've been designated an expert witness. I'll make a
      presentation in a Reno court on January 17 at a "settlement conference."
      This is a last ditch effort before litigation. While the title of "expert
      anything" may be desirable under normal circumstances, I'd love to be
      without it in this matter.

      On a final note regarding work, I was happy to be offered a job as Regional
      Architectural Historian. This is a permanent position (I was a temporary
      employee for the past 2.5 years) and a promotion. I'll work in the
      Intermountain Region office of the Forest Service in Ogden, Utah and plan on
      moving there in March or April. I've spent a good deal of time in Ogden and
      really enjoy it. It is home to Weber State University and is near Salt Lake
      City, which also has a university and a major airport. The job will
      certainly be interesting, as I will cover all the national forests in Utah,
      Nevada, southern Idaho, southern Wyoming and a small part of California.

      There is a very special man in my life these days. His name is Hans and
      he's director of the computer division at one of the large gold mining
      companies in Elko. He grew up in a military family so has lived in several
      places, including Taiwan and Chile. (It's rare to find someone in Elko
      County who has actually left the state.) Anyway, we have a lot of fun
      together and I look forward to spending more time with him.

      Hans, his two kids (10 and 16), and I went to visit Hans' best friend for
      Thanksgiving. His friend lives in Wyoming and works for the Forest Service.
      We had a great time traveling around the Bridger-Teton National Forest.
      The wildlife there is incredible: large herds of antelope, numerous deer,
      and the occasional sightings of elk and moose.

      About a month ago, the owners of the little historic house I was renting
      sold it and I had to move out. I really miss its coziness, the wood stove,
      the lovely back yard with the cherry trees, and the quirkiness unique to
      older homes. I especially miss my neighborhood: the little girls who often
      stopped by for candy or to make cookies and my next-door neighbors who had
      become like family to me. Since I'm moving to Ogden in March, I'm staying
      with Hans in the interim.

      Presently I am visiting my mother and stepfather in Warrenton, Virginia for
      the holidays. My sister-in-law, niece and nephew surprised me with a visit.
      The twins are 9 years old now - I hadn't seen them since they were six.
      After Christmas, Mom and I drove down to Roanoke to visit my brother Jim and
      his family. Their two kids are growing so fast and it was a pleasure to see
      them again.

      On New Year's Day, Mom and I leave for Ireland. We originally planned to go
      to the Caribbean but finally admitted that we wouldn't enjoy sitting on the
      beach for a week (maybe a day). We considered Puerto Rico, since it has a
      lot of history, culture and sites to visit, but dismissed it when we
      couldn't find a reasonable price. In our searching, we came across a good
      deal to Ireland that includes airfare, rental car and bed-and-breakfasts.
      Of course, it's in the dead of winter (cold, wet, dark), but we're tough.
      If nothing else, we'll spend our time in the pubs with pints of Guiness.

      Well, that's all the news for now. May you have a happy and prosperous year
      2001. I'll probably have a guest room once I move to Ogden, so feel free to
      call if you're in the area.

      With warmest regards,

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