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Pisgah gets new district ranger

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The National Forests in North Carolina announced that Richard Thornburgh will oversee management and operations as the new District Ranger on the Appalachian Ranger District of the Pisgah National Forest beginning Jan. 7.

"Richard brings a variety of experiences to this position that include development of large collaborative projects, managing an exceptionally large and diverse recreation program and well as complex land use issues," said Forest Supervisor Allen Nicholas. "His administrative, business, and legal background will also augment the exceptional skill sets contained with the leadership team of the National Forests in North Carolina."

Thornburgh has worked for the U.S. Forest Service for the last 17 years beginning in the Washington, D.C. office. He was most recently the Pacific and Placerville District Ranger on the Eldorado National Forest near Sacramento, California. His background includes roles such as Forest Planner, NEPA Coordinator, and Chief Financial Officer on the San Bernadino National Forest, and Budget Analyst in the Pacific Southwest Regional Office.

Prior to the Forest Service, Thornburgh worked as a mediator of environmental and public policy disputes in Pennsylvania. A native of eastern Tennessee, he was born and raised in Chattanooga. He received his Bachelor's Degree from the University of Notre Dame, a law degree from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, and a master's degree in public administration from Syracuse University. A bluegrass musician, Thornburgh is looking forward to being back in the Appalachians. He and his wife, Katherine, a high school Spanish teacher, have a 9-year-old son and a 7-year-old daughter. One of their favorite things to do is go hiking with their dog, Shasta.

"I'm excited to build on my experience with collaboration and partnerships to address the many challenges facing the Appalachian Ranger District," Thornburgh said. "I find those are generally the keys to success, whether it's trying to provide quality recreation experiences in the midst of increasing use, or working with local communities to improve the fire resilience of the forest around them so that we can try to avoid the next catastrophic wildfire."

"I also enjoy connecting people, especially young kids, with their national forest so they realize and appreciate what an amazing treasure we share," he added.