Heber-Kamas Ranger District has a new leader | ParkRecord.com

Heber-Kamas Ranger District has a new leader

South Texas native replaces former district ranger

When Daniel Jauregui interned with the U.S. Forest Service in the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest more than 10 years ago, the southern-Texas native fell in love with Utah's topography.

Jauregui worked as a wildlife biology trainee in the Logan Ranger District between 1999 and 2007. He had previously worked as a seasonal employee while attending college at Texas A&M-Kingsville. Jauregui graduated in 1999 with a degree in range and wildlife management.

"When I came here in college, I loved the mountains and the elevation. Growing up in Texas, we don't have a lot of that and it has always brought me back," Jauregui said. "I like the seasonal changes and I like the attitudes of the people out West."

Last month, Jauregui, 41, took his passion a step further when he accepted a permanent position as the new district ranger for the Heber-Kamas District. He started on Jan. 22.

Jauregui succeeds Jeff Schramm, who was recently selected as the new forest supervisor for the Ashley National Forest following the retirement of John Erickson. Schramm had been the district ranger since 2009.

"I figured it would be a great new challenge to bring the management skills I gained in Texas to a different management area," Jauregui said. "As a district ranger you are responsible for all of the moving parts in your district, such as fire management, grazing and general resource management.

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"You have to make sure all of these objectives match up," he said. "In all reality, I am tasked with making sure the Heber and Kamas ranger districts have something for everyone."

Jauregui is responsible for the area of the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest between the Mirror Lake Highway and the Strawberry Reservoir. He estimated the area covers more than 500,000 acres. He also oversees about 30 full and part-time employees, including interns.

"Working in Texas it is a lot different. The district was only about 163,000 acres and this one is a lot bigger and there is more going on, with summer and winter recreation," Jauregui said.

Jauregui said one of the biggest challenges he faces is ensuring the three forests properly serve the public, adding "the big challenge now is that it is combined and we are sharing resources and budgets."

However, he said it is also one of the most rewarding parts of the job.

"I'm a problem solver by nature and I like working with people and bringing everyone to the table," Jauregui said. "Everyone has something they can provide to us and everyone is a chess piece in the larger game. The fun part of it is to sit down with 10 people who may think differently and run one objective."

Jauregui said he wants to challenge his employees, like he challenged his family when he uprooted them from Texas. Jauregui lives with his wife in northern Salt Lake. They have three children.

"That's what I find fun," he said. "I like to challenge my employees to look at a project with all of their different disciplines and get to this one goal. They then start to work together and it's like one of those big giant pyramids where everyone is connected because then you can sit back and say this is what we got done."