By Ashley Harrington
This New Years Day, NASF President and Missouri State Forester Lisa Allen joined Smokey Bear, USDA Forest Service Chief Vicki Christiansen, and Ad Council VP of Campaign Development Amy Gibson-Grant on the “Smokey Wagon” for the 2019 Rose Parade in Pasadena, California.
Over 1 million people at the parade – and millions more through their televisions – cheered on the Smokey Wagon and helped to celebrate Smokey Bear’s 75th birthday.
“Every group of people we passed gave us a huge round of applause or standing ovation,” Allen said. “It was wonderful to see so many people of different walks of life showing their gratitude and appreciation for Smokey and their wildland firefighters.”
In addition to the heads of the organizations behind the Smokey Bear campaign, Forest Service Pacific Southwest Regional Forester Randy Moore (pictured above at far left) waved to parade goers from the wagon.
“To be apart of this parade and to witness all the supporters of Smokey come together to promote the campaign’s message of wildfire prevention was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Allen continued. “I want to extend a special thank you to the backwoods pack mules and Forest Service wildland firefighters who lead the wagon along the 5-mile route.”
In the days leading up to the parade, the wagon was decorated with all natural materials, which included – you guessed it! – lots of roses. Rice and poppy seeds were the main components of The Ad Council and NASF logos on the sides of the Smokey Wagon.
Smokey’s appearance in this year’s Rose Parade was of particular importance in that it starts a year-long celebration of Smokey Bear’s now 75-year-old wildfire prevention message. Throughout 2019, NASF, the USDA Forest Service, and The Ad Council will be sponsoring and hosting events to continue the celebration, all leading up to August 9, 2019: Smokey Bear’s 75th birthday. You can learn more about these events at SmokeyBear75th.org.
Ashley Harrington is NASF’s 2019 Spring James Hubbard Intern for Policy and Communications. She can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.