Forest Supervisor Bill Avey announced that Michael “Mike” Welker will become the new, permanent Townsend District Ranger on the Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest starting February 19, 2018. Welker is currently the Fish and Wildlife Program Leader on the Pike & San Isabel National Forests and Cimarron & Comanche National Grasslands in Colorado.
“Mike’s background in resource management, experience in fire and fuels, and knowledge of budget and administrative processes will serve our forest, the Townsend district, and our communities well, as we move forward with our 2018 program of work,” Avey said. “I look forward to working with Mike and having him become an active member of the Townsend community.”
Welker earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in biology from Eastern Illinois University and accepted his first job as a biologist from the Wyoming Game & Fish Department. In 2003, Welker joined the Forest Service and worked as a district staff officer, natural resources program manager, and a forest biologist on the Shawnee National Forest in Illinois. Welker has worked on the Pike & San Isabel National Forests and Cimarron & Comanche National Grasslands since 2009, during which time he has assisted in a variety of specialist, fire-related, and leadership roles.
“I can hardly wait to start working in this new role as a District Ranger alongside a dedicated group of resource professionals to collectively manage public lands for the benefit and enjoyment of the community, public, and all forest users,” Welker said. “After living in the urban environment along the front range of Colorado, my family and I are happy to be returning to a smaller community that offers some great outdoor opportunities.”
Welker, with his wife Susan and two children, Daniel, age 11, and Gabriel, age 14, look forward to the new adventures—especially fishing and hunting—that they will experience in and around Townsend.
“My first day at the Townsend District office will be February 20th,” Welker said. “So, I invite anyone to please drop in and say hello.”