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Wilderness Engineers

Their work may be invisible when you visit America’s 758 wilderness areas, but engineers have played a key role in preserving and improving access to the country’s most pristine spots.

Consider the U.S. Forest Service, one of three federal agencies that manage nearly 110 million acres of mountains, grasslands, lakes, and woodlands protected by the 50-year-old Wilderness Act. Engineers help design and construct campgrounds, boat docks, and waste-water systems. They have carved thousands of miles of roads through some of the world’s most challenging back country. Engineers even employ “road ecology” techniques to route wildlife safely across or around traffic.

Wilderness engineers also research and deploy technologies to better protect fragile environments, such as sensors that improve remote monitoring.  Forest Service engineers also developed the parachute that smoke jumpers and the military use, as well as a wild-land fire engine. Click here to learn more about their work and career pathways.

Hear a Forest Service civil engineer discuss her work:


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