New district ranger hired for Spotted Bear

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Scott Snelson will begin work in December as the new Spotted Bear District Ranger. (Courtesy photo)

Scott Snelson has been hired as the new Spotted Bear District Ranger for the Flathead National Forest. He replaces Deb Mucklow, who retired earlier this year.

Snelson currently serves as the deputy forest supervisor for the 3.4 million-acre Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest near Dillon. He’ll begin his new position in December.

“Snelson brings a wealth of leadership, knowledge and skills to the forest,” Flathead Forest Supervisor Chip Weber said in a press release. “His background is a wonderful fit for this diverse and complex district.”

Before moving to Dillon, Snelson was the district ranger for the Laurentian District of the Superior National Forest in the Arrowhead Region of Northern Minnesota, where he was actively engaged in large-scale vegetation management and restoration programs. He helped catalyze the formation of the Laurentian Divide Collaborative to help guide management on the three west zone districts of the forest.

Prior to his work in the Superior National Forest, Snelson was district ranger for the Aspen and Sopris Districts in Colorado. There he oversaw a complex mix of wilderness, restoration, vegetation management, mining, gas and oil permitting and several high-profile ski hill operations for one of the nation’s most visited districts.

He also served as the forest staff officer for Fish, Wildlife, Watershed and Soils and Subsistence on the Tongass National Forest. In this capacity, he oversaw programs for the nation’s largest national forest, guiding resource protection and restoration for the 17-million acre temperate rain forest.

Snelson spent 16 years in Montana, where he earned both his Bachelor and Master of Science degrees from Montana State University in biological sciences. Early in his career he worked as a U.S. Forest Service trail-crew foreman in the Bob Marshall Wilderness, out of Spotted Bear and Big Prairie, and as a firefighter.

Snelson’s wife, Heidi, is a Montana native, having grown up the daughter of a district ranger in Northwest Montana. The couple has two adult daughters; the oldest is a forestry graduate from the University of Montana in Missoula, and the youngest currently works in Virginia City for the Montana Heritage Commission.

Seth Carbonari, the Spotted Bear fire management officer, just finished a four-month detail and Gordon Ash of the Beaverhead Deerlodge National Forest will be filling in for the next few months until Snelson arrives.

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