BANKHEAD NATIONAL FOREST - Bankhead District Ranger Andy Scott is leaving for more—if not greener—forest next month; he’s being promoted to the position of deputy forest supervisor for the national forests in Mississippi, which stretch across 1.2 million acres in seven ranger districts.
“We are going to miss Andy,” said Bankhead Wildlife Biologist Allison Cochran. “He’s been a wonderful ranger, a force to be reckoned with when it comes to conservation of natural resources and the management of the forest. We won’t likely get another one like Andy.”
“Andy Scott has done an exceptional job in his time as the district ranger for the Bankhead National Forest,” said Blake Addison, Bankhead timber management assistant. “He is a tremendous leader, and Mississippi is gaining a valuable asset with the addition of Andy to their organization.”
“We’ve been lucky to have him,” Cochran concluded. “And we wish him continued success.”
Scott first came to the Bankhead as acting district ranger in January 2017. “I had no idea what that was going to entail and no idea whether I would like it or not,” he said.
He was moving into management after 15 years as a research soil scientist with the Forest Service’s Southern Research Station, studying the possible impacts of forest management techniques on the soil and its future productivity, first in Pineville, La., and then at Alabama A&M University in Huntsville.
“But I stayed in that acting position for five months and learned that I loved it,” Scott continued. When the permanent position was posted, he applied and soon returned to the Bankhead as district ranger in October 2017.
“I don’t think I would have ever been successful stepping in to be a ranger anywhere but here,” he said, crediting his Bankhead staff with being the first to teach him what it is to be a ranger.
“My staff has been just outstanding from the beginning,” Scott continued. “I’m going to miss them.”
He said he will also miss the people who live near the Bankhead, noting that the communities here remind him of the those near his Indiana hometown.
“I love being able to work with people that love the forest,” he said, “whether that’s my employees—and I’ve got an absolutely great staff who love the forest (and) who love serving the public—(or) members of the public. We have here in Double Springs, Haleyville, Addison, Arley and communities in Lawrence County (and) Franklin County some very engaged citizens who love their forest, who volunteer time, who help us manage it and make it a place for everyone to enjoy.”
Another thing Scott loves and will miss is, in his words, “the exceptional diversity” of the Bankhead. “It’s just beautiful,” he said.
Scott said that if a new permanent district ranger has not been selected by the time he departs, his primary staff will rotate as acting district ranger on a monthly basis until an official acting or permanent ranger is chosen.
See complete story in the Northwest Alabamian.