by Marissa Lorenz
The Grand County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) recently welcomed Shoshana Cooper, new District Ranger for Arapaho National Forest’s Sulphur Ranger District.
Cooper introduced herself to the Board, expressing excitement at being in Grand County. “This area is just breathtakingly amazing. I’m still pinching myself everyday that I get to live and work here.”
She described some of her own history growing up in a small town in Northeast Washington State and noted that she “knows and is passionate about rural communities, both personally and professionally.”
Cooper has been with the US Forest Service for about 15 years, coming from Job Corps in the Colville National Forest, where she was a guidance counsellor. “I have a real passion for work,” something of which she says her two teenage sons are not a fan.
She worked “on the tree side” of the Forest Service in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, and gained experience as executive assistant and public affairs officer for the Idaho Panhandle National Forest. Most recently, she served as the acting deputy forest supervisor of the Rio Grande National Forest in Monte Vista, CO.
Responding to her interest in local government concerns, Commissioners answered in turn.
Merrit Linke indicated that he would like to see a continuation of the more active forest management of recent years. Describing a prior “hands-off approach,” he stated that “I don’t think it was working, personally, with management of beetle kill and grazing and all those things that we do on the forest.”
Kristen Manguso articulated a strong interest in protecting public access of trails and roads. “They’re public lands, and we need the public access.”
And Richard Cimino said he looked forward to working together and expressed a strong interest in whether or not her sons played football. (Cooper said that they should talk and conveyed gratitude that area school districts permitted all students to be involved in the various extracurricular activities.)
But just three weeks into her new position, Shoshana says that she and her sons (15 and 17) have “been busy with moving into our home, figuring out fence schematics for the horse, and unpacking. My older son quickly found an outside job to escape working on fencing for Mom!”
“We were able to get out on a few hikes and paddle on Shadow Mountain Reservoir. We are looking forward to wrapping up the home chores and getting out to hike, bike and explore our new home. As for me, I have been trying to quickly get up to speed on meeting employees, learning about their work, and meeting our partners–all of which is quite challenging in a virtual environment. The Sulphur Ranger District has hardworking and dedicated employees, and I’m thrilled to join their team!”
Cooper noted the challenges of balancing increased usage and recreation of forests with the benefits of getting people outside. She noted a focus on communicating with recreators about land uses, public/p rivate land status, and any restrictions that may be in place at any given time as well as their reasons.
She also indicated a dedication for collaborative work. “We cannot do this work alone. I don’t expect me or my folks to have all the answers. It takes everyone coming together in partnership.”
The Sulphur Ranger District Office is located off Highway 40 in Granby. They manage over 440,000 acres of forest, 600 miles of road, 400 miles of trails, four wilderness areas, 11 campgrounds, the Arapaho National Recreation Area, and Winter Park Resort. They can be reached at 970-887-4100.