Armbruster new district ranger
New ranger joins Brush Creek/Hayden Ranger District. Looks forward to enjoying area, providing community service
November 28, 2018
Jason Armbruster began his role as district ranger in the Brush Creek/Hayden Ranger District in May and, while having moved here from Colorado, is no stranger to Wyoming. Armbruster spent time in Wyoming before, having served as the acting district ranger in Sundance for the Bearlodge Ranger District.
"I really, really enjoyed that assignment," said Armbruster. "Really enjoyed living and working in Wyoming. It's just a different kind of place to work and I really enjoyed the environment. Really strong partnerships, local communities really care about their public lands very deeply and I enjoyed working in that environment."
Following his assignment in Sundance, Armbruster worked on the Western Slope of Colorado in the Grand Mesa National Forest. When the opportunity came to go back to Wyoming, he took it.
"I enjoyed living in a smaller town. I feel it's a good fit for my family and myself. I like that this district, we have a little bit of everything here. We, obviously, have a big timber program, active forest management, have great recreation opportunities, great hunting, great fishing. There's something for everybody, but, at the same time, you can still find places to get away from it all," Armbruster said.
While Armbruster has been with the USFS for several years, this position marks the first in which he has served as agency administrator - a position that he is still training for but has gained some experience during both the Badger Creek and Ryan fires.
"I have some experience in the fire arena, having basic firefighter training, working on prescribed burns, things like that. I was able to go over to work on the Badger Creek Fire on Laramie Ranger district over the summer. That was, for me, a training assignment in the role of agency administrator," said Armbruster. "I was trainee on that fire, I was actually a trainee on the Ryan Fire as well."
With his new position comes new experiences. While Armbruster has had experience in working with the public in the past, being the ranger for the Brush Creek/Hayden Ranger District gives him more and different interactions.
"I did interact a lot with the public, but it was on a more limited set of issues I dealt a lot with proponents for various kind of projects. Now, I deal more with the whole set of forest users; from recreationists to timber industry folks, environmental groups, other conservation groups. So the range of people I get to deal with on a daily and weekly basis is wider," Armbruster said.
Being in the role of district ranger and training as an agency administrator during the Ryan Fire also gave him an opportunity to meet and work with other cooperating agencies including Carbon County Fire and local firefighters.
"For me, the silver lining that came out of it was the ability to get to know a lot of our partners a lot better. Really appreciate an opportunity to work with Carbon County Fire, John Rutherford and Ron Brown, got to work really closely with those guys and get to know them, get to understand what their priorities are and that's been really great to develop those relationships along with our local firefighters," said Armbruster.
Though barely a year into this new role, the new ranger has received a warm reception from other agencies in the area and the community. Because people in the area do care about their public lands, Armbruster said that he has had people approach him about ideas on how to manage the forests and what they felt has been done wrong in the past. For him, this is all part of the customer service aspect of the position.
"My biggest priority for the district, and in my job, is to provide good customer service. So, if there's stuff that we can improve, I want to know about it. I rely on people to tell us how we're doing, on how we can do things better. Whether that's recreation opportunities, whether that's some issue with our facilities that need addressing, whether that's broader ideas about forest management. I'm all ears. I encourage people to give me a call, send me an email, stop by the office and talk to me," Armbruster said. "We, as the forest service, can't do it alone. It belongs to everyone and everyone has a role to play."