“You Might Be a District Ranger” and Fall Blogging Break

I’m taking a fall blogging break until October 9. I’m thinking the report of the Wildfire Commission will be coming out next week. Some people already have it. The rumor mill says it will say something about more money and more agency coordination. I hope that someone will read it and post about it.

I thought I’d leave you with this post I found on LinkedIn by Camille Howes, Forest Supervisor on the Gila National Forest. It gave me a smile as many of these resonated with me.. except the topic of “endless conversations” varies by position. And I still like “endless conversations” about trees..

Now, I realize some folks might not be sure if they are “ranger material” so below I have provided some self-reflection thought starters to help you ascertain if you might already be ranger and not even know it.

* If you like dragging a can of dripping fire through the forest…you might be a District Ranger.
* If you find yourself craving endless conversations about livestock…you might be a District Ranger.
* If you desire a close, personal connection with your local elected officials…you might be a District Ranger.
* If you enjoy long, scenic drives to attend meetings at the supervisor’s office…you might be a District Ranger.
* If you own over a dozen Yeti travel mugs with various logos from across the agency… you might be a District Ranger.
* If you love the sounds of chainsaws ripping through wood on a crisp autumn morning…you might be a District Ranger.
* If you can simultaneously manage multiple personalities, including a few of your own…you might be a District Ranger.
* If you love talking about your district at the post office, grocery store, laundromat, beauty salon, church, or gym…you might be a District Ranger.
* If you know the maximum number of allowable persons at an event without a SUP, but can’t remember your oldest kid’s name…you might be a District Ranger.
* And lastly, if you find deep, personal satisfaction in serving your staff, your community, your landscape, your country, and future generations…you are a District Ranger.

Challenge yourself today…join us! Become a District Ranger in Region 3. I assure you, the rewards are endless.

And here’s a link to USAJOBS  openings for District Rangers.
Also, here’s  a handy description of some current internship opportunities.

8 thoughts on ““You Might Be a District Ranger” and Fall Blogging Break”

  1. Hello Sharron and all readers

    I’m one of the Wildland Fire Commission members and happy to have an open Zoom meeting after the report is publicly released September 27th. Let me know if there is interest and a timeframe for open dialogue.

    • Thanks, Kelly! I can only speak for myself but I’d be interested. Here’s a potential plan.. (1) TSW folks email me if you are interested in being on a Zoom about this. (2) Will do a Doodle poll with interested folks for times when you are available.
      Would that work? If so maybe I’ll do another post to highlight this opportunity. Thanks again!

    • I was a temporary employee for several years before I got a permanent position. Back then, there was no annual leave, no sick leave or retirement, you showed up at the work center instead of the office and if it rained/snowed, you went home with no pay! My my, times have changed….🤣

      I think starting pay as a GS-03 was $2.75/hour!

      • And, rent was $90 per month ( or less ), I’ll bet.

        It didn’t matter that you were doing GS-9 level work. It didn’t really count in HR. To the Agency, you weren’t a ‘real’ employee. I had one District Ranger tell us to “move on with our lives”, because there would be no permanent positions coming. I did, finally, get my Permanent, but it was 7 years later.

        I guess the Agency is struggling to get field-going people, still. Maybe the Forest Service should re-think its pay scales for more than just firefighters, eh?

        • Yep, we were thought of as “second class citizens” for sure. You could be terminated without cause, at any time. My times as a seasonal were in the early to mid – 70’s; when I returned to service in early 2002, the seasonals still had that same sentiment.

          And….. you had the technicians vs professionals rift that always seemed to thought of way worse than actually existed,…. I never played those games!

          What’s interesting is I was the only professional in a family of forest service employees, starting in 1929!

  2. I can appreciate the Forest Supervisor’s sentiments, they do seem realistic. But I also feel it is time for the agency to move away from the culture of deification of the good old days that is inherent in how these positions are treated. District Rangers are at best local administrators with highly limited authority. The way the FS doggedly clings to the term “line officer”, which you will not see on OPM or USA Jobs, is misleading. Which in turn drives outsized egos to these positions, who tend to base their careers around being “in charge”. In my experience, Forest Sups are more than willing to ignore official delegations of authority in favor of “everything goes through the Ranger”, further compounding inconsistency, limiting accountability, and enabling illegal actions such as closing roads shown as open on official MVUM, just one recent example. I’m today’s era of virtual meetings, connectivity, no budgets directly to Districts, and over 30 years of centralization (Wasatch, Uinta, and Cache ?) it’s time to revisit what it means to be a local administrator, and perhaps drop the needless kowtowing to tradition inherent in the title “District Ranger”. The professional program managers and supervisors at Forest Headquarters are often more knowledgeable, humble and service oriented, and better suited to lead agency change and manage on the ground work.

    • “The professional program managers and supervisors at Forest Headquarters are often more knowledgeable, humble and service oriented, and better suited to lead agency change and manage on the ground work.”

      I laughed, and laughed, and laughed again at this. I think you might be sincere in this belief, which will make me laugh again.


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