2010-05-06 / Local & State

Forestry Staff Remembers Waltz

Tree dedication held Wednesday
By Chanin Rotz-Mountz STAFF WRITER

The family of the late Merl Waltz gather around a red oak sapling planted in the district forester's memory at the Sideling Hill Mountain picnic area last Wednesday. Waltz retired after spending 41 years with the Bureau of Forestry. He died at the age of 70 on May 19, 2009. The family of the late Merl Waltz gather around a red oak sapling planted in the district forester's memory at the Sideling Hill Mountain picnic area last Wednesday. Waltz retired after spending 41 years with the Bureau of Forestry. He died at the age of 70 on May 19, 2009. Bureau of Forestry employees from across the commonwealth took time to pay homage to the late Merl Waltz during a special tree planting and dedication service atop Sideling Hill Mountain last week.

At the age of 63, Waltz retired as district forester of the Buchanan State Forest spanning Fulton, Franklin and Bedford counties on July 26, 2002. He logged 41 years with the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and began his duties in 1961 as a service forester with the Michaux State Forest.

Over the years, his various duties, which included marking timber, carried him across the commonwealth into regions that included Pottsville, Venango County and Clarion. Hoping to spend his retirement hunting, fishing and joining fellow foresters in combating out-of-state wildfires, Waltz unfortunately died on May 19, 2009, at the age of 70.

In honoring Waltz and his tenure with the Bureau of Forestry, his family, friends and coworkers gathered at the Sideling Hill picnic area along Route 30 last Wednesday to observe the planting of a red oak sapling.

Buchanan State Forest District Forester Jim Smith reported a “great turnout” for the event with an estimated 50 individuals on hand for the special dedication. Following the planting, the group traveled down Route 915 to walk the Waltz Trail, a 1.27 mile hiking trail opened to the public last November in honor of the late district forester.

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