After a year-and-a-half, the Tusayan ranger’s job for Kaibab National Forest has finally been filled on a permanent basis.
Rick Stahn, who has been the latest in a series of acting Tusayan rangers, was selected for the job, forest supervisor Mike Williams announced last week.
"Rick has been doing an outstanding job as the acting ranger, and we are very pleased to announce that he has been officially selected for the position," Williams said. "He has been working very closely with the local community and has developed good working relationships with a lot of individuals and groups. We look forward to him continuing to forge those important partnerships."
Stahn had been serving as acting Tusayan ranger since June. The last permanent ranger had been Jerry Payne, who vacated the position in the spring of 2001 when he accepted a position in the Forest Service’s Southwestern Region office.
Stahn has worked for the last 18 years as the zone silviculturist for the Peaks, Mormon Lake and Red Rock districts of the Coconino National Forest. He first worked for the Forest Service in 1968 on an engine — then called a pumper truck — and has since worked largely in fire suppression, timber and silviculture, which is the study of the care and development of forests.
"I’d been in my last position for quite awhile and decided I wanted to try something new," Stahn said. "In my years with the Forest Service I have seen all aspects of resource management, which should prove very beneficial to me in the ranger position."
Stahn has bachelor’s degrees in resource management from Michigan State University and in forest and watershed management from the University of Arizona. He has also taken graduate-level courses in ecosystem management from Northern Arizona University.
"With his education and experience, Rick is more than qualified for this job," Williams said. "More than that, though, he has the right personality and leadership skills to accomplish great things for the forest and the Tusayan community."
Local community members will likely be pleased to see the position filled. Over the past several months, various Forest Service issues around Tusayan were handled by a variety of different acting rangers. Most recently, community members have gotten to know Stahn better because of his involvement with the school district’s requests through the Education Land Grant and a proposal for a co-regeneration plant.
Stahn, who describes his management style as cooperative and collaborative, said an area of focus for him will be forest health and resource restoration — improving grasslands, enhancing antelope habitat and implementing thinning and prescribed burning projects where appropriate.
"Tusayan is a great district. I’m really excited about my position because we have so many opportunities to accomplish a lot of important work," Stahn said. "There are also a lot of great people here. I look forward to continuing positive relationships with the Tusayan community, the Grand Canyon National Park and the local tribes. My door is always open."