Sunday, April 14, 2024

New District Ranger selected for the Entiat and Chelan Ranger Districts

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WENATCHEE—Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest Supervisor Kristin Bail has announced the appointment of Paul Willard as the new District Ranger for the Chelan and Entiat Ranger Districts.

Willard will oversee management of over 100 personnel on the two units, and the work they do to maintain, restore, and protect nearly 700,000 acres of federal land that also encompasses portions of the Lake Chelan-Sawtooth and Glacier Peak Wildernesses, including Lake Chelan recreation areas.

“Paul Willard is highly respected for his leadership and skill working with volunteer groups and agency partners on trail and recreation improvement projects,” Bail said. “He recently coordinated the replacement of several aging boat docks along Lake Chelan that provide critical infrastructure to commercial and recreation transportation services to up-lake destinations of Holden and Stehekin. Paul also has experience as an agency administrator, representing the forest on numerous small and large wildfires over the past decade.”

Willard grew up in East Tennessee, camping and hiking in the nearby Smokey Mountains. He noted that his interest outdoor recreation, and likely time spent as a river guide in college, were pivotal in leading to his career in outdoor recreation management.

In 1991 Willard began his Forest Service career on the Eldorado National Forest as an archaeologist after graduating from the University of Tennessee with BA degree in Anthropology. He’s worked on seven National Forests in five Regions in recreation focused positions including: River Ranger, Lead Wilderness Ranger, Trail Crew Leader, Assistant District Recreation Staff, and has been the Recreation Staff Officer for the Chelan Ranger District since 2010. In August 2022 he served as the acting District Ranger for the two units and recently transitioned into the permanent district ranger position this past May.

“I’m really looking forward to putting the new tools and authorities provided by the Central Washington Initiative to work, as we focus on improving wildfire resiliency within the wildland urban interface areas of our districts and increasing the restoration footprint with the help of our state and local partners,” said Willard.  

Willard and his family spend a lot of their down time exploring backcountry areas skiing, mountain biking, fishing, and hunting. “And now that my boy are teenagers, we’ve also exploring of the Mad River and Sawtooth trail systems on motorbikes. My wife also has one, so we’re all looking forward to exploring more trails together on these districts,” Willard said.

For more information, contact Deborah Kelly 509-670-0354 or deborah.kelly@usda.gov

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