Aspen-area Forest Service employees honored for their work | AspenTimes.com

Aspen-area Forest Service employees honored for their work

Staff report

Five workers in the White River National Forest, including three in the Aspen-Sopris Ranger District, have been recognized for their contributions to the land and the communities they serve. The recognition came externally and internally.

Mike Kenealy, recreation special uses program manager for the White River National Forest, was honored as "Ranger of the Year" by the National Forest Recreation Association. The award has been given since 1982 to individuals who show personal dedication in the realm of recreation management. Recipients exhibit a true sense of partnership with recreation service providers. Kenealy is retiring this year after 43 years with the Forest Service.

Erin Carey, deputy district ranger for the Aspen-Sopris district, was given an Inspiring Women Award from the Forest Service Rocky Mountain Region for her work in mentoring and coaching. The award is given to a mentor or coach who takes an active interest in the development of individuals, provides expert counsel as they prepare individuals for challenges and have helped individuals succeed in their career and advancement to the next level.

Katy Nelson, wilderness and trails program coordinator in the Aspen-Sopris district, was named a Public Lands Hero for 2017 by the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics. She was selected for her commitment to Leave No Trace education in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness. She organized a Leave No Trace weeklong event at Conundrum Hot Springs in June. That helped create awareness of challenges in that high-use area.

Andrew Larson, former wilderness lead in the Aspen-Sopris district, was given the Aldo Leopold Award for Overall Wilderness Stewardship. That is a national award by the Washington, D.C., headquarters of the Forest Service.

Larson played a vital role in monitoring conditions in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness. That helped create a capacity study that is a critical part of a proposed Overnight Visitor Use Management Plan in the wilderness area. Larson is starting a new job this fall with the Forest Service in the Pacific Northwest Region.

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In addition, Mary Gillespie, range program manager in the Blanco Ranger District, was awarded the International Migratory Bird Day participant award for 2017.