Who is our next Paul Bunyan? I can’t tell you.
But I can say his first public appearance will be Friday, Sept 3rd, at 5:45. That’s when the current Paul will “Pass the Ax” to the new Paul, at First Friday’s Block Party on Laurel St.
I’m terrible at keeping secrets, maybe if I give you some hints you’ll guess…
According to the new Paul, people tell him he looks like Paul Bunyan. He’s a big bear of a man – at 6’6″ he’s just an inch shorter than Norm Shandell, Fort Bragg’s Paul Bunyan for the last 40 years. New Paul has dark curly hair and a full beard; he also works in the woods.
While he works in the woods, he’s not the clear-cutting, ax-wielding man of the tall tales. This Paul is a modern folk hero; he does wildlife surveys, including research on the Northern Spotted Owl. He works on lands owned by some of the nation’s top forestland conservation organizations including; The Nature Conservancy, The Conservation Fund, and Redwood Forest Foundation Inc. Instead of an ax, he respectfully imitates the owl’s contact call, or uses digital wildlife callers, radio transmitters and database programs on computers. But he’s not afraid to get dirty, he hikes steep and rugged terrain – often at night – orienteering with map, compass and GPS units. Sometimes instead of hiking he uses a 4×4 vehicle or an ATV on rugged unimproved dirt roads. And like most people in the woods, he runs a chainsaw, often in harsh weather.
This Paul is also an educator; he likes helping people – especially kids – learn about today’s logging practices, the future of the Redwood forests, and logging’s surprising impact on birds and animals who live in the woods.
He’s in his early 40’s, he went to Forestry school in Maine, and he has his own ‘logger’ clothing. Know who he is? Don’t tell! Let’s see if you’re better at keeping secrets than I am.