Gloria Flora, graceful though she is, is no shrinking violet. If she was, she’d probably still be working for the U.S. Forest Service. But she resigned in disgust on December 31, 1999 in a last ditch effort to call public attention to what she called the “fed-bashing” that grew from Nevada’s Sagebrush Rebellion and the formation of the Shovels-To Jarbidge Brigade, which demanded that she re-open a road along the Jarbidge River that had been washed out during a flood. Elko County, in response to the District Ranger’s draft decision, rechanneled 900 feet of river and tried to blade a new road with a bulldozer. That was Flora’s first day on the job.
Flora refused to reopen the road because fish biologists said rebuilding it would harm endangered bull trout. The situation quickly escalated, making an already tense situation even worse. Over the next decade, Forest Service employees – in uniform or civilian clothing – routinely were denied service in Elko restaurants. Teachers taunted the children, and their spouses were accosted in supermarkets, churches, banquets – even their own driveways. For their safety, Forest Service employees were advised not to wear their uniforms when traveling in rural Nevada.