"If a tree falls in the forest..." -- Toby Herzing is the guy you'll want to talk to about it.
Herzing has been the recreation forester for the Elk State Forest and a service forester for Elk and Cameron counties for nearly seven years.
As a recreation forester, he works with the management and maintenance staff on recreational activities and projects such as trail maintenance, hiking, biking, horseback riding, snowmobiling, geocaching, hunting and fishing.
"The State Forest provides many recreational opportunities for the forest users," Herzing said.
In his role as service forester, he assists private landowners with insect and disease problems, timber harvesting and land management and developing management plans. He also works with local government agencies and presents educational programs for schools, youth groups and sportsmen's clubs.
"I also do resource management on the state forest. This could be a timber sale, herbicide project or deer fencing project," Herzing said, adding that people should take advantage of the free technical assistance foresters can provide to landowners for their forest management and insect and disease problems, as well as the many recreational opportunities available within the Elk State Forest.
Herzing has an associate of science degree in Wildlife Technologies and a bachelor of science degree in Forest Management. He is is the son of Mike and Lynn Herzing and the grandson of Ruth Rupprecht and the late Leander Rupprecht and Virginia Herzing and the late Aurelius Herzing. His sister, Melanie, is married to Joe Blessel, and they have two sons, J.J. and Lucas. His brother, Mike Herzing Jr., is married to Katie, and they have a son, Chase. Herzing's fiancee is Wendy Bonanno, who has two daughters, Allie and Eilla.
Herzing said his career path was influenced by his family and his childhood experiences.
"My love for the outdoors was instilled in me at a young age spending time with my family outdoors. I like being out in the fresh air and enjoying nature’s sights and sounds," Herzing said.
As a young child, I spent much of my time with my family at our camp in Glen Hazel. I enjoyed being in the wood. As I got older, I spent a lot of time hunting with my father, as I still do today. This time we spent in the woods developed a strong interest in the forest and wildlife."
He said the most fulfilling part of his job is "being able to assist private landowners and state forest users" and that he enjoys the variety of activities in his work.
Pick up a copy of the Monday, Oct. 31, 2011 edition of The Ridgway Record for more.