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Sierra National Forest to Participate In Rose Parade

CLOVIS – To cap off the year-long celebration of the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Wilderness Act, the U.S. Forest Service will participate in the 126th Rose Parade in Pasadena on Jan. 1st.

“The Forest Service entry will be a celebration of the Wilderness Act, the historic role of packers in supporting wild land firefighters and other back country operations and appreciation of the outstanding contributions made by national forest volunteers,” states Stanton Florea, Fire Communications Officer for the Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Region.

As the focus of the entry, Randy Moore, Regional Forester for the U.S. Forest Service Pacific Southwest Region, will be joined in an authentic 19th century wagon by Thomas Tidwell, 17th Chief of the U.S. Forest Service. Tidwell and Moore will be joined in the wagon by fire prevention icon Smokey Bear, known to generations as the symbol of wildfire prevention in America, and Mike Heard, a national wilderness volunteer award winner from California’s Los Padres National Forest.

Additionally, the equestrian entry will include an entourage of Forest Service Rangers in period uniforms anchored by three all-mule pack strings. The pack strings will be expertly guided by California-based U.S. Forest Service packers Michael Morse, Lee Roeser and Ken Graves, who each have an average of 37 years experience in the saddle.

The Sierra National Forest will be proudly represented in the parade by stock manager, Deborah McDougald, who will ride in the Color Guard carrying the State of California flag. To provide a sharp and uniform visual effect, Ms. McDougald states that, “Every Forest Service participant who is riding in the parade will be riding a mule, not a horse, and all the pack animals and riding mules are red in color.”

Mule pack train - photo courtesy US Forest ServiceThe entry is unique in that the parade mules are also working pack animals, having come off the front lines of supporting wildfires across Northern California for several months in the summer and fall. The mules are used for long treks deep into national forest wilderness areas to resupply firefighters and wilderness rangers. They’re also uniquely suited to working at high altitudes and in the rugged terrain of the Sierra Nevada, Trinity Alps and other mountain ranges in California.

Victor Parker, packer for the Sierra National Forest, will support the team of packers. Micki Didier, wilderness ranger for the High Sierra Ranger District will assist in the parade as an “outwalker” in case anyone needs help or an animal acts up during the parade. The Sierra National Forest representatives will also participate in Equestfest activities on Monday, Dec. 29, at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center, as part of the Rose Parade Celebration.

More information about the U.S. Forest Service entry in the Rose Parade can be found at

For more information on the parade, Equestfest and other activities that comprise the Tournament of Roses, visit:

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