Former district ranger honored
GLENWOOD SPRINGS — Although Dave Neely, former district ranger for the Eagle-Holy Cross Ranger District, has moved on to a job in Washington, D.C., his stewardship legacy lives on in the Vail Valley. Neely was recently awarded the Line Officer Wilderness Leadership Award for 2015. This award is given nationally by the U.S. Forest Service headquarters.
“The White River National Forest is incredibly proud to honor Dave for his efforts regarding wilderness,” Scott Fitzwilliams, forest supervisor, said. “Dave made thoughtful and deliberate decisions when it came to managing wilderness on the district. Future generations and the landscape will benefit from his foresight.”
Neely started with the Forest Service nearly 20 years ago as a seasonal wilderness ranger, and has managed wilderness resources throughout his career. During his tenure as the Eagle-Holy Cross District Ranger, he managed all or part of three wilderness areas: Holy Cross, Eagle’s Nest and the Flat Tops. Managing each one of these areas is challenging due to high visitor use and fragile alpine tundra amid popular peaks that climb to 14,000 feet or higher.
Without fail, Neely was committed to preserving wilderness in both policy and action. This is demonstrated by actions such as hosting a forest-wide Carhart-instructed Wilderness Awareness training course, implementing Wilderness Character Monitoring, showing the vision to deny range fencing when alternatives existed that would preserve the character of the wilderness and detailing to the Washington office to serve as the lead staffer in the legislative affairs office for wilderness, wild and scenic river legislation.