New Ranger takes reins of Petersburg District

KETCHIKAN – A new ranger has been selected to guide the Tongass National Forest’s Petersburg Ranger District.

Dave Zimmerman, Timber and Special Forest Products program manager for the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest in Medford, Ore., was recently named the new Petersburg District Ranger. His arrival date has not yet been determined.

In a release, Zimmerman said he is humbled by the selection as a ranger on the largest national forest in the country.

“The candidate pool for such a leadership position is highly competitive,” he said. “So I feel very fortunate and humbled by the selection.”

The task of leading a ranger district that is nearly the same size as the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest will be “very challenging for sure,” Zimmerman added.

“My current national forest is 1.8 million acres spread across five districts, so working on a district of similar size to my former forest will be exciting,” he said. “This will necessitate continued good communications while building on the good working relationships that already exist.”

Petersburg District’s new ranger said another one of his priorities when he arrives is “to listen and learn about the vision our forest is embracing, and to be able to successfully articulate this to our partners and stakeholders.”

The vision Zimmerman refers to is the forest’s transition to a young growth focused timber program using a collaborative, sustainable, and integrated approach to resource management that supports resilient forestlands and communities.

Zimmerman is no stranger to Southeast Alaska. He worked for the Forest Service and private sector in both Juneau and Sitka for nearly two decades.

In 1980, he became the first timber management assistant on the Juneau Ranger District and prior to that position he served as a supervisory forester at the Sitka Supervisor’s Officer. This was a time in the forest’s history when it was organized into three areas, which were the Ketchikan Area, Stikine Area (Petersburg) and the Chatham Area (Sitka).

“It’s like coming home,” he said. “So we are preparing to rekindle and reunite with past friendships and excited to begin engaging and developing new relationships.”

Zimmerman has worked in three regions, on five national forests, and seven ranger districts. He earned an undergraduate degree in forestry from the University of Missouri. He also attended a Forest Service-sponsored educational program called the Forest Engineering Institute at Oregon State University.

Petersburg is one of 10 ranger districts located on the 16.8-million-acre Tongass. District staff are stewards of designated areas of public lands and manage them for various resource uses to meet the diverse needs of people, including special use permits, watershed protection, recreation, fish, wildlife, subsistence, timber and wilderness areas.

 

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