The Beaverhead Deerlodge National Forest is sifting through more than 100 applications looking for a new district ranger to take the helm at the Madison Ranger District in Ennis.
Former district ranger Sue Heald retired from the post this past fall. Since then district ranger duties have been taken over by Kevin Suzuki, resource specialist at the ranger district and currently the acting district ranger.
The Beaverhead Deerlodge National Forest is headquartered in Dillon and the hiring for the new ranger will be done from there, said Leona Rodreick, public information office for the forest.
The forest has selected a panel of employees to review applications for the district ranger position, she said.
“Right now we need to get through the list and get it down to the highest qualified,” Rodreick said.
The hope is to have a new ranger hired by June, Suzuki said.
The Beaverhead Deerlodge National Forest is the largest national forest in the state, covering 3.35 million acres across eight counties in southwest Montana. The Madison Ranger District is one of seven on the forest and encompasses all or part of three major mountain ranges: the Tobacco Roots, Gravellys and Madisons.
The next acting district ranger will be fisheries biologist Darin Watschke, who will take over for Suzuki next week.
During the hiring process, operations will continue as normal for the ranger district, Suzuki said. Any major decisions will be done in close concert with Beaverhead Deerlodge National Forest supervisor David Myers.
“People should know that if they have questions or needs to contact the district and things will progress as they would if the district ranger was in place,” Suzuki said.
For more information on the search for a new district ranger, contact Rodreick in Dillon at 683-3900.