The Bridger-Teton National Forest’s top employee is stepping away for the early part of the winter to assume second-in-command duties at the U.S. Forest Service’s regional office, spokeswoman Mary Cernicek said.

Forest Supervisor Tricia O’Connor will start a four-month detail Nov. 10 as the deputy regional forester at the Forest Service’s Intermountain Region office in Ogden, Utah.

In her stead, the Bridger-Teton’s own deputy supervisor, Derek Ibarguen, will take over, leading the 3.4 million-acre forest that borders three sides of Jackson Hole.

As the deputy regional forester, O’Connor will work under regional forester Nora Rasure. She’ll help oversee 12 national forests in Nevada, Utah and parts of Idaho, Colorado and Wyoming. Among those is the forest she temporarily leaves behind: the Bridger-Teton, along with its neighbor, the Caribou-Targhee.

Contact Mike Koshmrl at 732-7067 or

Mike has reported on the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem's wildlife, wildlands and the agencies that manage them for 7 years. A native Minnesotan, he arrived in the West to study environmental journalism at the University of Colorado.

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