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Fitness Park Dedicated to Luke Sheehy

by BLM California News Bytes |

Howling wind and driving rain did not deter a group of northern California firefighters and volunteers, as they broke ground near Redding for development of a physical fitness park to be named in honor of a fallen smokejumper.

The project took place Saturday, March 5, at the BLM’s Swasey Recreation Area, a popular destination for mountain bikers and hikers. It was the first major workday in development of the Luke Sheehy Memorial Fitness Park due to open this summer. In addition to firefighters the work teams included members of an Americorps crew and students from a Shasta High School Regional Occupation Program.

When completed, the park will feature a dozen workout stations — pull-ups, sit-ups and bar-dips — adjacent to a hiking and mountain biking trail used frequently by wildland firefighters for physical fitness training. It will be open to the public.

Tim Bradley, fire management officer for the BLM in Redding, said members of the public will be welcome to use the site to work toward the physical fitness standards required for wildland firefighters.

The fitness park will also include interpretive panels. One will focus on the BLM Firefighter Fitness Challenge and provide information for those who want to achieve those standards. A panel will also provide information about Luke Sheehy and his commitment to wildland firefighting and physical fitness. A separate interpretive panel will discuss use of prescribed fire, describing several burns that can be seen in the Swasey Recreation Area.

Sheehy, a member of the U. S. Forest Service Redding Smokejumpers, was killed in the summer of 2013, when he was hit by a falling tree branch while fighting a fire in the Warner Mountains of northeast California. Prior to becoming a smokejumper, Sheehy served as a member of the BLM Diamond Mountain hotshot crew.