I’ve slammed down the phone without a civil goodbye or some sort of pleasantry, no matter how forced or awkward, while talking to a Forest Supervisor, District Ranger, BLM or UDWR official only once in nearly 30 years of conservation work. And it was to the best district ranger—for that matter, Forest Service official— I’ve ever worked with or known!
We both agreed, with respect to the issue we were discussing, his hands were tied and it was not his decision to make, he argued. I was furious that a truly committed wilderness manager and district ranger was not as ballistic as I was. We reconnected shortly, and realized our anger was mutual, simply expressed differently (I’m still not fully convinced that his hands were tied that tightly!)
Well, that Ashley National Forest, Roosevelt/ Duchesne District Ranger, Clark Tucker, retired early in January 2006. His career with the Forest Service was long, diverse and distinguished, but he hit his stride as a district ranger. He was ethical, fair, transparent, conservation-minded, and a true wilderness supporter. He loved the forest, wildness and, indeed, the Forest Service. He saw the forest as a forest, not a resource, and he understood the depth many of us place on wildness because he listened and because he cared about wildness.
To be sure, we disagreed on many issues. He changed many proposals, as well, because he listened and cared. At dozens and dozens and dozens of meetings he often assumed a posture of head in hands, rubbing his face, sitting back, head tilted upward and thoughtfully laying out a concern or reflecting on a comment. He was a person of depth and we will miss him. He will miss the Forest Service, I’m sure. It was in his blood, so to speak; I recall his dad was also a forester for many decades. But of most importance, the Forest Service will miss him!
Clark called often to brief us on stuff we cared about. That is so desperately lacking in today’s Forest Service.
Good luck, Clark!