By GENEVIEVE BOOKWALTER
Filling a five-year vacancy, a new Stanislaus National Forest spokesman is on the job with hopes that he can help shine up the forest's tarnished image.
The long-running vacancy Jerry Snyder fills was cited in a review by Forest Service officers last spring, who said getting someone for the post should be a top priority. The same report stressed that communication between the forest and its users needed to improve.
Before Snyder was hired, Pat Kaunert, the Stanislaus' assistant spokesman, acted as the main public relations contact. Snyder said he looks forward to once again dividing the duties, and applying what he learned as a Federal Aviation Administration spokesman during and after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, to his new job.
In light of the communication problems raised by the review team, Snyder said he plans to keep in touch with the media and interest groups about forest projects and also contact them in advance of forest activities that may concern them such as control burns or any timber projects.
Snyder, 50, moved to Sonora from Los Angeles earlier this month after working for two years as the lead public affairs officer for the Federal Aviation Administration's Western Pacific Region, encompassing California, Arizona, Nevada, Hawaii, Guam and American Samoa. Its headquarters are in Los Angeles.
Before joining the FAA, Snyder spent 28 years in the Coast Guard, holding jobs ranging from photographer to emergency medical technician, and traveling everywhere from New York City to Antarctica.
Snyder spent five of those Coast Guard years on an emergency response team that answers to disasters across the country.
He wrapped up his ocean career as a spokesman for the military, working out of Long Beach.
From sea to sky and now to the forest, Snyder said that despite his affection for the water, he was thrilled to move 2,000 feet above sea level. He looks forward to a slower pace in the foothills, and a break from Los Angeles traffic.