Our view: City should have ranger presence

 

March 18, 2020



Amongst Green River’s many nicknames, “Gateway to the Flaming Gorge” is one of the most apt.

Not more than 30 miles south of our city, a man-made recreational paradise lies, brimming with potential. Fishing, camping, boating, skiing, swimming -- there’s a lot to do at the gorge. With Interstate 80 bringing visitors to the gorge throughout the summer, Green River’s nickname is especially fitting.

So, why isn’t there a ranger station in Green River?

The gorge is part of the Ashley National Forest, which is primarily located in Utah. The recreation area actually starts at the Scotts Bottom Nature Area, which is technically within the city limits. The large amount of traffic coming to the gorge from the north (Green River) is not served by a ranger station. This has not always been the case, as a ranger station was originally set up on the south side of Green River, situated to catch people as they’re leaving the city. The ranger eventually moved to the Green River Visitors Center once that was completed and the original station was closed. While the visitor’s center can be considered a good spot for the ranger, given the opportunity to interact with the public, the position was eventually closed due to budget cuts.


Since then, the forest service has invested hundreds of thousands into a ranger station in Manila, Utah.

The change has also caused inconveniences within the visitor’s center as well. Lisa Herrera, CEO of the Green River Chamber, said the loss of the position caused the chamber to stretch an already small staff even further, as the ranger would work at the center on Saturdays, which allowed staff to either enjoy the day off or work events the chamber was involved in.

Green River representatives should start petitioning the U.S. Forest Service to reopen a ranger position here.

It should be a priority to have some representation in Green River as the city is the primary gateway to the Flaming Gorge from I-80.

It would also show residents of Green River the city is important to the forest service’s overall plans in managing the gorge and surrounding area.

We think it’s time for Green River to have the same consideration as Manila, Utah and should at very least, have a ranger stationed in the city.

 

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