FS ACES Enrollee, Larry Blythe, is a Training Instructor (Forestry Practices) at Oconaluftee Job Corps Civilian Conservation Center, Cherokee, NC and is an enrolled member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.
As a child, Larry grew up following his grandpa around on a farm and woodland where he and his family grew crops, hunted and fished and enjoyed the outdoors. This background engendered an interest in Forestry through the 4-H program. After graduating from high school, he enrolled in Haywood Community College in Clyde, NC and graduated with an AAS in Forestry in 1977. Larry was then hired as a forestry tech by the Bureau of Indian Affairs in Cherokee, NC. He worked in this position until 1981 when he received an internship through the Bureau of Indian Affairs to attend the University of Idaho to earn a BS degree. After graduating in 1983, he was selected as the Forest Manager for the Cherokee Agency, Cherokee NC. As Forest Manager, Larry was responsible for all fire and forestry activities on trust lands for the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and served in this position until 2003.
While serving as Forest Manager, Larry was elected to serve on the Tribal Council of his Cherokee Tribe. He held elected positions in the Tribal Council from 1987 until 2003. He resigned from his job as Forest Manager in 2003 and was elected as Principal Vice Chief of his Tribe. He served in this elected position until 2015. As Principal Vice Chief, he used his forestry experience to create codes for Tribal Natural Resource Management and Enhancement. Additionally, he served on the Intertribal Timber Council Board of Directors during his years as an elected official. This gave him a terrific opportunity to visit many of the timber-owning Tribes in America.
Larry retired from political life in 2015 and has done some work over the past two to three years for the original Trail of Tears National Trail in the Cherokee National Forest in Tennessee. This work not only brought him back to his forestry roots but allowed him to make an important contribution that will impact the public’s understanding of Cherokee history.
In December 2018 he was approached with the opportunity to work part-time for the FS ACES Program as a Forestry Instructor at the Oconaluftee Job Corps Center in Cherokee, NC. Larry began his new FS ACES position on February 11 and, as a result, says he has a new bounce in his step. Larry said it feels good to be outside again, especially on a part-time basis. He enjoys being around the students and being able to pass along his first-hand knowledge to them. As he says, one can only play so much golf or fish!
Larry’s wife, Wanda, had been after him to find a part-time job and his FS ACES position fit his situation perfectly. When he is not working he enjoys hiking, fishing, golfing, traveling, playing guitar and singing.
When presented with the question about who he would invite to invite to a fictional camp fire dinner, Larry replied:
I would love to be able to sit down with my grandfather and grandmother around the campfire and talk about all that has happened in my life due in large part to their prayers and guidance. Of course, my wife, Wanda would have to be there. She is my biggest supporter and defender. I would also like to have two of my greatest mentors and supporters with us as well; John Gloyne and Lucille Beck, who saw potential in me as a young man that I did not realize existed. Finally, my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ would definitely be there front and center. HE directed my steps all the all the way. I hope this gives you a flavor of my life and career. I now look forward to mentoring and teaching the next generation of US Forest Service employees.