US Forest Service selects district ranger to manage agency's largest ranger district, appoints Brad Orr to manage Juneau Ranger District in Alaska's Tongass National Forest

JUNEAU, Alaska , December 19, 2013 (press release) – Tongass National Forest Supervisor Forrest Cole announced that the Forest Service has selected a new district ranger to manage the Juneau Ranger District. Starting in early 2014, Brad Orr will take over as district ranger on the largest Forest Service ranger district in the nation.

Orr is currently the recreation program manager on the Sulphur Ranger District of the Arapaho-Roosevelt National Forests, based in Granby, Colorado. Located about 90 minutes outside Denver, Orr’s district receives heavy visitor use by recreationists looking for opportunities for adventure.

Cole made the announcement Thursday, citing Orr’s extensive experience managing popular Forest Service recreation areas, similar to those found in Juneau.

“We are extremely pleased to have Brad coming on staff,” said Cole. “The Juneau Ranger District will benefit from his strong background managing high-use areas.”

“He’s coming to the Tongass with every intention to provide the best possible stewardship for the resources on the district,” Cole continued, “and he is inheriting a first-rate staff who can support him as he gains familiarity with this very complex and diverse place on the forest.”

In a nod to current Juneau ranger Marti Marshall, who is retiring in January after holding that post for three and a half years, Cole added that Brad Orr would be “stepping into a solid district with outstanding programs in recreation, fish and wildlife, wilderness, and special uses.”

Marshall moved into the head position at the Juneau Ranger District in 2010 after serving as ranger for Admiralty Island National Monument. During her tenure, the outgoing ranger maintained a strong presence in the community and played an important role on the forest’s leadership team. She oversaw management of the highly demanded resources of the Juneau Ranger District, including the iconic Mendenhall Glacier and adjacent visitor center.

Mendenhall Glacier Recreation Area receives close to a half-million visitors every year, in all seasons, making it easily the most popular spot on the 3.5-million-acre Juneau Ranger District. The district also is home to three designated Wilderness Areas as well as heavily used recreation cabins like Dan Moller, John Muir, and Windfall Lake.

The incoming ranger has extensive experience working with that range of resources. Due to its proximity to Denver, more than a million visitors flock to the Sulphur Ranger District each year. Orr currently oversees use at a major ski area on that district, in addition to four Wilderness Areas and the Arapaho National Recreation Area, which contains five lakes, four marinas, and numerous campgrounds and picnic areas.

A graduate of Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, the new ranger also studied silviculture as a graduate student at Oregon State University. Although he started out with the Forest Service as a seasonal fire fighter in Arizona, Orr has spent the bulk of his 34-year career with the agency in timber management and recreation.

Having grown up in national parks with parents who worked for the National Park Service, Orr developed a land ethic early on and is pleased at the prospect of spending the coming years in Southeast Alaska. “I feel very strongly about public lands, and welcome the chance to play such an important role in managing and safeguarding the world-class resources of the Tongass.”

He added, “I am thrilled at this opportunity to join the team on the Tongass in Juneau.”

Orr’s wife is looking forward to the move north with “a lot of excitement,” said Orr. She is a former resident of Sitka and is elated to be returning to Southeast. The couple have two children attending college in Colorado.

The new district ranger expects to arrive in Juneau with his wife in late February.

While he prepares to transition to the Tongass, Brad Orr can be reached at 970-887-4135.

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