The U.S. Forest Service called on the Marines Corps to make repairs to North Shore Road (Forest Service Road 5821) in the Willamette National Forest. From July 13-26, approximately 50 Marines from Engineer Services Company, Combat Logistics Battalion 23 graded, rocked, cleaned culverts and cleared brush along the narrow, gravel section of road that serves as a detour for passenger cars when there are closures on Highway 58.
The task provided the required training for Marines reservists, while accomplishing some much needed work on public lands.
“This really is a win-win for everyone, especially the public,” Darren Lemon, the Willamette National Engineering staff officer who forged the partnership between the two agencies said in a press release. “We always strive to be good stewards of tax payer’s dollars and, by sharing resources, we are gaining efficiencies.”
“By working with the U.S. Forest Service, we’re able to complete the training we need without having to travel outside of Oregon. Not only are we going to maximize the amount of training we can do, we’re also going to save on transportation and logistics costs,” Maj. Justin DiRico, Company Commander for Engineer Services Company, Combat Logistics Battalion 23, said in the press release. “The majority of the Marines and Sailors of Engineer Services Company live, work and attend school in the state of Oregon. This is an opportunity for our Reservists to improve the public lands and forest that we enjoy.”
“Because this road connects two rural communities, we have a strong interest in improving its safety,” Lemon said in the press release. “Having a crew of 30 definitely increases our capacity to get work done during the summer months when road work is possible.”
According to kval.com, the Marines graded 15.5 miles of road, installed 21 culverts and removed 113 hazardous trees. The cost was $100,000, but U.S. Forest Service project engineer Mike Larman told the news agency that they saved $80,000 by using the Marine reserves.