NORTH FORK – For those who have had the pleasure and privilege of working with District Ranger Dave Martin, this is a rather a sad day – his last day on the Sierra National Forest Bass Lake Ranger District.
Martin retires with 41 years of service, working first on the Inyo, then the Stanislaus, and finally the Sierra National Forest, having spent his last 14 years as the man in charge on the Bass Lake Ranger District.
Ranger Dave, as he is affectionately known, will be missed for his professionalism, his dedication to his job, and his engaging sense of humor. But mostly, he will be missed for his devotion to the success of his fellow employees and the projects into which they put so much time and energy.
When asked at a recent interview where he sees the needs of the agency, Martin was emphatic about his staff and Forest Service employees in general, encouraging them to always strive for excellence and continued education.
“Continue to develop professional and technical expertise in your chosen field and to keep growing, since a great deal of our credibility with our partners and the public comes from our quality knowledge base,” said Martin.
Martin has always focused on working well with stakeholders, building strong relationships, and encouraged the public to be involved in sustaining and improving the forest. It has also been a priority to build efficiency into everything they do, while working toward bringing more revenue into the National Forests and tapping into funds available for important projects.
Some highlights for the Bass Lake Ranger District under Ranger Dave’s leadership include promotion of the Sierra Vista Scenic Byway, successfully obtaining grant funding from the Sierra Nevada Conservancy to support hazardous fuels reduction in Nelder Grove and meadow restoration in the Willow Creek watershed. The District was integral in obtaining grant funding through Proposition 84 for restoration work in key watersheds to improve water quality and quantity through the Madera Region’s Integrated Regional Water Management Grant.
Ranger Dave was critical to the success of the Willow Creek Planning Collaborative which resulted in an updated Landscape Analysis, leading to a successful ecological restoration planning project known as Whisky Ridge Ecological Restoration Project. That project won the Pacific Southwest Region’s 2013 Regional Forester’s Award for All Lands, Watershed & Forest Health.
The District also assisted with the emergency response and post-fire rehabilitation efforts related to the French Fire, after hosting the Incident Command Post at the Old Mill Site in July.
To top it off, the Bass Lake Ranger District was selected as the Pacific Southwest Region’s 2014 Regional Forester’s Award for District of the Year.
Martin plans to stay engaged with the Forest Plan Revision process and conservation strategy for the Pacific fisher, a species recently proposed for listing under the Endangered Species Act. He will also continue to follow developments with the North Fork Bioenergy Facility and the Sustainable Forests and Communities Collaborative, a group that supports efforts that promote a healthy sociological system of forests, watersheds and economies in the communities of the South Central Sierra.
As for what comes next, Dave plans to spend more time with his wife of 40 years, Diane, and with his grandchildren, Ava and Bodie. Lots of time for fishing is a big part of those plans. Dave and Diane live in North Fork, and plan to remain in the area, contributing time and energy to projects they are still passionate about.
As Dave Martin bid a fond farewell to his staff today, it was bitter-sweet.
“As most of you already know, I am retiring and today is my last day as part of the Forest Service family. Reflecting on all the wonderful experiences, challenges, joys (and a few sorrows) of my 41+ years, it would take way too many pages and not even come close to expressing the depth of my gratitude and love for all of you.
“On my first day, I could never have comprehended what my career would be like and what a profound honor it has been to share these many years with you all. I never will wrap my arms around it. Saying “Goodbye” is the hardest… saying “Thank You” is the easiest.”