Longtime Blackrock District Ranger Todd Stiles has taken a reassignment and is stepping in to permanently lead the Bridger-Teton National Forest’s Jackson District.
The Bridger-Teton Blackrock District ranger since 2015, Stiles had been detailed to oversee the busiest district of the 3.4-million-acre national forest since June. This Thursday he will officially transition into the role permanently. Stiles told the News&Guide that there were both personal and professional motivations for accepting the job that will have him working and living in Jackson instead of Buffalo Valley.
“My two kids, they go to school in Jackson and all their friends are in Jackson, so that’s pretty cool for them,” Stiles said. “And professionally, the Jackson District Ranger is a really challenging and important opportunity.”
“There’s never a dull moment at the Jackson Ranger District,” he said. “There’s just a lot of things going on.”
Stiles succeeds Mary Moore, who departed in the spring after a three-year run to take a forest supervisor job at Michigan’s Hiawatha National Forest. Prior to Moore’s tenure, Dale Deiter led the district for a decade before leaving to take a post leading Arizona’s Prescott National Forest.
Stiles’ path to the Bridger-Teton included multiple stops at another popular national forest in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem — the Gallatin National Forest, which hugs the northwestern corner of Yellowstone National Park. Immediately prior to taking the Blackrock District post he was the recreation and special uses program manager for the Gallatin’s Hebgen Lake Ranger District.
His move in June to the Bridger-Teton’s Jackson District coincided with the start of summer tourism season. The forest, and especially the Jackson District, has attracted record use the last couple of summers, he said, and district staff were ready for the 2021 tourism crush.
“It actually went better than 2020 did,” Stiles said. “It was very busy and there were a lot of pressures on us, but we were a little bit more well-oiled from the learning we did in 2020.”
Because Stiles is hopping just one ranger district over, there’s a good deal of overlap among his staff. A number of Bridger-Teton employees split their duties between the two “north zone” districts: Jackson and Blackrock.
Bridger-Teton wildlife biologist Jason Wilmot has filled Stiles’ shoes on the Blackrock District on an interim basis since July. The U.S. Forest Service is advertising for a permanent replacement for the Blackrock post.