New district forest ranger in Kamas Patrick Parkinson Of the Record staff
The U.S. Forest Service’s new chief ranger in Kamas has never lived in an area the size of Park City. "It’s the biggest area as far as population wise and amenities," said Kamas District Ranger Cathy Kahlow, 47. "That’s kind of neat for us."
Two weeks ago, Kahlow replaced former Kamas District Ranger Tim Garcia who began working for the Forest Service on Utah’s Capitol Hill last year. She has served as a program manager in the Sierra Vista and Nogales Ranger districts in southern Arizona and most recently as a recreation and engineering manager in the White River National Forest in northern Colorado the most frequently visited forest in the United States.
A skier, Kahlow helped oversee the management of forest lands for several ski resorts from Aspen to Vail. She now, however, must help balance the interests of a diverse group of forest users in the Uinta Mountains.
"[Kahlow] is an outstanding choice for Kamas," Wasatch-Cache National Forest Supervisor Faye Krueger said in a press release. "Her extensive background in resource management and strong record of building partnerships between the Forest Service and local communities will be considerable assets for the district."
During a telephone interview Thursday, Kahlow praised cooperation that already occurs between Forest Service staffers and volunteers in Summit County. "A lot of volunteers and a lot of people care passionately about this area," Kahlow said, praising the efforts of groups like the Goodwill Riders and Utah Backcountry Horsemen. "People really care, it’s just that they see management, or use of it differently than other people some people don’t want any kind of management."
"Nobody likes conflict, but the conflict evolves out of passion that people have for their National Forest," she added. Since arriving in Summit County, Kahlow says she has visited the Wasatch-Cache several times via snowmobile along the Mirror Lake Highway.
"It’s far superior as far as the quality of management that is occurring," she said, praising fee programs that have been implemented in the Kamas district.
Meanwhile, Kahlow is examining whether several decaying pine trees infested with bark beetles along the Mirror Lake Highway should be removed next fall. "That’ll help alleviate some of the hazards for drivers and snowmobilers," she said. "They are also a fire hazard." Traditionally, rangers in Kamas haven’t seen many large wildfires, however, Kahlow is eager to continue the district’s relationship with county and state fire officials to prevent fires.
And though the size of her staff is "adequate," Kahlow says most federal natural resources agencies are dealing with budget crunches. "Nothing’s ever perfect. I don’t want to say that we have no problems," she said. "I don’t think you’ll find anyone that works for the federal government that works for natural resources that says their budget is good."
Kahlow, who likes to hike and garden, lives in western Summit County with her husband and 14-year-old son. Her daughter attends Colorado State University. "My role and my desire is to work with the communities and meet people who are passionate or have concerns about particularly the Kamas Ranger District," she said.
Kahlow can be reached at the Kamas Ranger District office at (435) 783-4338.
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