Steamboat district ranger moving on to neighboring forests
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Those who work with Hahns Peak/Bears Ears District Ranger Chad Stewart said his innovative thinking and ability to work with others have allowed him to accomplish a lot during his time in Steamboat Springs.
After four and a half years in Steamboat, Stewart has been promoted to deputy forest supervisor for the Grand Mesa Uncompahgre National Forests, where he will oversee the rangers in five districts.
“It’s new opportunities and challenges,” said Stewart, who will move to the Delta area with is family and start the new job May 13. “We definitely enjoyed Steamboat. It’s really hard to leave.”
Stewart has worked for the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management for 25 years, and he got his start as a firefighter.
During his time in Steamboat, Stewart took a turn overseeing the 2016 Beaver Creek Fire in neighboring Jackson County that burned more than 38,000 acres and cost $30 million to fight.
His experience working at large incidents led to other opportunities. In October, he was part of a team deployed to Puerto Rico for hurricane recovery efforts.
Stewart has also played an important role in major Forest Service projects, including planned expansions at Steamboat Ski Area and new trails on public land.
“He’s just beyond awesome,” Jon Wade said. “He’s a special guy, and we were fortunate to have him in Steamboat.”
Wade worked with Stewart on the 2A Tails Committee, which was responsible for building new trails using taxpayer dollars. Much of the trail building has been focused on land managed by the Forest Service.
Wade said it was Stewart’s idea to create an endowment fund that would pay for future trail maintenance.
“He came up with innovations new to the Forest Service to enable our trails committee to move forward on Forest Service land,” Wade said.
Wade said Stewart is strategic and a problem solver, which are essential skills needed to work with different groups of people.
In his role as district ranger, Stewart has put a priority on collecting feedback from members of the public, including elected officials.
“For us, he’s been absolutely great,” Routt County Commissioner Doug Monger said. “Chad has been exceptional to work with.”
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