The Mark Twain National Forest

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Large Scale Planning  

To complete the Forest Planning process the Forest Supervisor needed to determine the Existing Visual Condition of the 13 Districts in the Mark Twain National Forest.  The effort included over 4 million acres of Federally managed and private land. 

Early GIS 

We used Texas Instruments DS990 computers, a basic operating system, and eight inch dual floppy discs, with no hard drive.  The map combining process was two maps at a time..., to produce a third.  The resulting map was combined with perhaps the product of two other maps, etc, etc. 

The process had over 10 combining steps and 63 15 minute quad sized maps per combining step.  I do remember taking 8 months just to produce (print) the black and white maps (as composite of overstrike characters).

Forest Objectives 

The Visual Quality Objectives summarys were calculated (in acres) for each of the 13 Ranger District and for the entire Mark Twain Nation Forest.   

Each District Ranger received a Forest summary and detailed map information describing the Existing Visual Condition of their District.

Local Scale Implementation 

It was really enjoyable being involved in what the Forest Service calls a "vista cut".  The Willow Springs Ranger District had an opportunity to remove a few trees and open views that were spectacular for that part of the National Forest.  To the south of this unique road "saddle" was 600 acres of the best agricultural land within the District, and to the North (shown below) the existing forest canopy at a distant view.  The trip through the area is always very pleasant for the visiting dignitaries as well as the local folks.  Everyone slows down to take a careful look at the contrasting views to either side. 

The initial plan was conceived on a "napkin" over lunch.

It is a real pleasure to be part of something that everyone continues to enjoy!  

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