Arturo Delgado, the new district ranger on the San Jacinto Ranger District, has arrived, been meeting his new staff and learning about the Hill. And what he has discovered, as many residents have learned, is “it just feels like home. There are lots of trees, grass and water,” he said. “I grew up in a small town like Idyllwild.”
Delgado, who has been on the job three weeks, has already embraced the Hill’s physical and emotional environment, if only because his commute from Palm Desert is half the time he traveled to Arcadia while working on the Angeles National Forest.
Growing up in Northern California in Ukiah, Delgado spent a lot of time outside and involved with nature. His father took him fishing regularly at Lake Mendocino. These experiences shaped his life and career.
“Right from the beginning, I knew what I wanted to do,” he said. “I realized that I wanted to work with animals and the environment. I knew I had to go to college as a 4-year-old.”
He attended California State University, Sacramento, receiving a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences and a master’s degree in biological conservation.
“I’m blessed. I get to do what I love to do and do it every day,” Delgado said proudly. “It’s great.”
Before joining the Forest Service three years ago, he worked for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife for 13 years. In the early years, he conducted many field studies and worked under the sun. Later, Delgado got involved in several statewide environmental and conservation issues, such as the Quagga mussel and eventually the Salton Sea program, where he oversaw developing and implementing the restoration program.
With the Forest Service, Delgado continues his passion to protect and enhance the environment, and wildlife and vegetative communities, and “to assure resources for us and future generations,” he said. “I want my son to go to the mountains and see trees and water and critters.”
From his Angeles NF experience, Delgado knows about the intense competition for outdoor resources in Southern California. But he recognizes that the local district is a little more remote from large urban centers than the Angeles NF. “After an average week, we had to collect 20,000 pounds of garbage [on the Angeles],” he said.
He also knows it will take more time and field trips before he fully learns about the San Jacinto Ranger District’s resources and conflicts.
Delgado is already beginning to work on the May Valley Trail proposals and encourages bikers, equestrians and local residents to provide their thoughts about the possible trail closures and expansion. [See the story, “Forest Service plans trail changes in May Valley,” in the May 30 Town Crier.]
“We’re soliciting folks to present comments,” Delgado stated. “We’re still developing alternatives and additional environmental assessments.”
Besides May Valley, Delgado has visited Dark Canyon and explored its habitat for endangered species.
It has been only three weeks since he arrived at the district, so his long-term goals are being formed as he learns and studies more about the local environment. In general, he wants “to make things better and make adjustments where they may be needed to avoid impacts on the environment.”
He also discussed continuing community protection through vegetative and fuel management activities.
The view from his Angeles NF forest biologist office window of Interstate 210 traffic strongly contradicts his new office view: “On the
first day, all I saw were trees,” he exclaimed. “It’s wonderful.”