New ranger office opens for business

by nathan oster

Monday was the opening day of the Medicine Wheel Ranger District’s new office in Greybull — and if the first few hours were any indication, south Big Horn County residents aren’t going to have any trouble getting their hands on visitor maps or obtaining permits to cut wood.

Half a dozen people stopped by the new facility, located on south end of Greybull along U.S. Highway 16-20. Katrina Malson and Teri Coy were happy to help, taking a break from the unpacking of boxes and squaring away of the front office.

“We’re open for business,” declared Dave Hogan, the district ranger.

The Lovell office, approximately half the size of the new facility in Greybull, closed June 15. For the remainder of last week, services such as the sale of firewood permits and visitor maps ceased, along with the dispensing of general visitor information to the public.

On Monday it resumed.

“We’re still in the process of moving, but so far, it’s gone well,” said Hogan.

Fourteen Medicine Wheel/Paintrock Ranger District employees who had been working at the Lovell office are now working in Greybull.

The new facility was built to accommodate not only those 14, but also the USFS firefighting and law enforcement personnel that has been headquartering at the Greybull Work Center. The USFS has no intention of abandoning that building, as it’ll continue to be home to the Wyoming Interagency Hotshot Crew, which at the moment is fighting fires in Arizona. Hogan said the two year-round Hotshot employees would have office space in both locations.

The group that is making the move from Lovell to Greybull includes, among others, a fire management officer, archeologist, recreation specialist, rangeland management specialist, as well as people who work in human resources and administration, including Hogan himself.

Hogan said south Big Horn County residents will benefit the most by having a location nearby to purchase firewood permits and maps, as well as to have face-to-face interaction with Hogan and his team of specialists.

A tour of the building revealed a more open office layout, warehouse and garage. There is also a great deal more room for parking — not only for the public, but also for government vehicles used by the USFS. An open house is planned for later this summer, when community residents can see the building for themselves.

The ranger district is also going through a name change. The Medicine Wheel Ranger District, headquartered in Lovell, and the Paintrock Ranger District, formerly headquartered in Greybull, were administratively combined in 1996, with both districts’ names combined as the Medicine Wheel/Paintrock Ranger District. For the past 19 years, employees have worked from both locations. It’s now going to be referred to as the Medicine Wheel Ranger District, with all employees working in Greybull.

Office hours will be 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The Greybull office can be reached by phone at 765-4435.