SILVER CITY, N.M. (KRQE) - After a 32-year Forest Service career, Forest Supervisor Dick Markley of the Gila National Forest has retired.
Markley served for a little over three years as head of the 3.3 million acre Forest that includes three wilderness areas including the nation's first designated wilderness, the Gila Wilderness.
His retirement took effect Friday.
"The time that I have served as forest supervisor on the Gila National Forest will always be a special time of my career," Markley said in a statement released Monday. "Local communities, our sister agencies in city, county, state, and federal government, and forest employees welcomed me warmly and served as a motivation for me to strive to do my best.
"The support is very much appreciated and was essential in helping us manage the Forest in a focused and balanced manner."
During Markley's tenure as supervisor he set as priorities developing a travel management plan for the forest, accomplishing the annual fuels treatment goal to protect local communities from wildfire, completing the backlog of environmental analyses for grazing permits and accomplishing the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) projects funded on the forest.
Craig Cowie, currently the fire staff officer overseeing the Gila fire organization, is serving as acting forest supervisor through the end of December.
Improvements to energy efficiency and security at Forest Service facilities were also completed at a number of Forest locations including Fort Bayard and the Hudson Street and administrative sites in Silver City, and the Glenwood and Wilderness Ranger Stations. Improvements were made to the Gila's Interagency Dispatch Center along with an expansion of services to fire agencies and law enforcement. Management of wildfires was also a high Forest priority, with particular emphasis placed on protection of life and property, while achieving the resource benefits of managing fire when it was safe and appropriate to do so.
Partnerships with the N.M. Department of Game and Fish, Gila Permittees Association, The Nature Conservancy, Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument, Howard University in Washington, D.C., Red Paint Pow Wow, Back Country Horsemen of America, Gila Conservation Education Center, and numerous other individuals and organizations were instrumental in accomplishing many beneficial projects for the benefit of public land users and the Forest.
Dick and his wife Gail will remain in Silver City and are looking forward to traveling, horseback riding, and starting on those many projects that have been set aside.
Craig Cowie who is currently the Fire Staff Officer overseeing the fire organization on the Forest will serve as Acting Forest Supervisor through the end of December.
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