SHERIDAN — The Bighorn National Forest will Erin Phelps as the acting forest supervisor Jan. 27. Phelps comes to the Bighorn National Forest from the Payette National Forest, where she serves as the district ranger in New Meadows, Idaho.
Phelps began her federal career in wildland fire with the Boise Bureau of Land Management, then with the U.S. Forest Service on interagency hotshot crews in Arizona. In 2010, she transitioned into environmental planning, and also served as the U.S. Forest Service project manager for the innovative Flagstaff Watershed Protection Project, a large initiative funded in large part by the citizens of Flagstaff to pay for wildfire hazard reduction treatments on the national forest adjacent to the city.
Prior to her district ranger position in Idaho, she was the Ninemile District Ranger on the Lolo National Forest in Montana.
“I have a high level of respect for the land and natural resources of the Bighorn National Forest and for the people whose livelihoods and lifestyles depend on these resources,” Phelps said in a press release. “I look forward to learning from and serving the communities around the forest.”
In the coming months, Phelps will focus on connecting with local communities and working with the broad array of user groups and constituents in the area.
Phelps will serve as the acting forest supervisor for approximately four months, while Andrew Johnson, the Bighorn forest supervisor, is temporarily filling in as the forest supervisor on the Black Hills National Forest.
Temporary assignments referred to as “details” are often used by federal agencies to temporarily fill vacancies due to retirements or relocations. The USDA Forest Service offers two opportunities where employees can transfer, without a break in service, to a different position within their agency or other federal agency. The first is through a temporary promotion and the other is through a detail. Agencies often use the term “detail” to describe both.
On average, the USDA Rocky Mountain region supports roughly 20 details and/or temporary positions per month.