Sophie Conerly drove 39 hours from Georgia to her summer quarters at Trout Creek Ranger Station on the Cabinet Ranger District. That’s a long haul, but she was excited to make the trip, ready for a big adventure. She’s having one, too. Sophie is the Friends of Scotchman Peaks Wilderness 2019 back country ranger/outreach intern.
She is a soft-spoken native Georgian who says “yes sir” and “yes ma’am.” She has a twin brother, and her dog Waylon — who stayed at home — is named for a country singer. She is a rising senior at Georgia College and State University. Her major is outdoor education, with a minor in environmental science.
Sophie is a confident addition to the FSPW team. She looks forward to the know-how — and adventure — her time in wild country with FSPW will provide. “I intend to seek a job as a ranger,” she says. “This job will provide knowledge for my future.”
Sophie attended USFS Guard School during her first week of work, where she learned fire-fighting skills. She will work on wilderness trails with both Forest Service and Scotchman Peaks trail crews. It’s apparent that she’s ready for her new job. She reported to training in Chippewa work boots that exceed USFS trail work standards. And they were broke in.
She will do solo patrols on popular trails in the Scotchman Peaks, working on trails and visiting with people about relating to wild places.
“I’m passionate about teaching visitors about the environment,” she says. “I want to use my positive attitude and love of the outdoors to educate visitors about how to protect the area’s wild character.”
On the more civilized side, Sophie will also work at tables at FSPW outreach events. She will be with FSPW through the end of the Trout Creek Huckleberry Festival in August before driving back across America to start her last year of school. And her next adventure.