Iwamoto departing as district ranger | AspenTimes.com

Iwamoto departing as district ranger

Jeremy Heiman

Rob Iwamoto, district ranger for the U.S. Forest Service’s Aspen Ranger District, will be leaving Aspen in November for a position in Oregon.

Iwamoto has accepted a promotion to the position of deputy forest supervisor of the Willamette National Forest, a position he applied for some time ago. He will be stationed in Eugene.

Iwamoto has been district ranger in Aspen since 1992. His replacement at the Aspen Ranger District has not been selected.

Working in the Willamette National Forest will be a challenge, Iwamoto said, just as the White River National Forest has been.

“It has its own controversies,” he said. “I’ll be going from one hot spot to another.” The Willamette National Forest is a large national forest – and one where logging has been a major activity – but as on other federal lands, timber cutting is declining and recreation is increasing.

Iwamoto said he will miss Aspen. “Aspen is a great place to work,” he said. “That makes it doubly difficult to leave.” But he won’t miss the hours. “The position [here] requires 50 to 60 hours a week,” he said, not counting the commute.

He praised the people he’s worked with in the community, in business and in local government. “I really respect those people,” he said.

Iwamoto has worked with community members on numerous projects, and he cited as an example the recent deal struck to preserve the Ryan parcel in the middle of Ashcroft Ski Touring. The Forest Service worked with local governments, nonprofits and individuals to keep a key piece of land from being developed.

“We’ve accomplished a lot,” he said, “even with all the controversy.”

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