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I would like to personally thank the USDA Forest Service Northern Region’s surrounding communities as well as our many partners for the outpouring of support shown during the recent partial government shutdown.

Because we live, work and play in the communities we serve, being unable to fully carry out our valuable mission of public land stewardship had a tremendous impact on our employees and their families. It also had a profound effect on many partners, volunteers, permittees and contractors. Not only was our mission affected, but several individuals and their families endured personal financial hardships as a result of being furloughed for over a month without pay. This is where our local communities shined in helping ease that burden.

From offers of loans and support from many local financial institutions to free or discounted meals, products and other services from hundreds of local businesses and schools, our communities demonstrated their compassion daily toward federal employees as fellow neighbors and citizens. Equally heartening was the understanding and support demonstrated by our many state and private partners, tribes, volunteers, permittees and contractors, whose unparalleled patience and understanding helped ease the frustration felt by all as a result of the disruptions in our operations.

A critical part of our agency’s mission is the shared stewardship of our public lands. It is truly and honor and privilege for us all to manage 25 million acres of national forest and grasslands throughout Idaho, Montana and the Dakotas on behalf of all of you. And we could not do it without our partners and communities.

Thank you for your continued support, trust and for selflessly being there for us during the shutdown. It is truly humbling.

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Leanne Marten is the regional forester for the U.S. Forest Service's Northern Region. 

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