The U.S. Forest Service has tapped Thomas Contreras to be supervisor of Angeles National Forest, where he has been serving on an interim basis for several months.
“I welcome the opportunity to manage one of the most heavily used urban forests within the nation,” Contreras said in a statement.
The park recently reopened campgrounds and more than 100 miles of hiking trails after months of rehabilitation following the massive Station fire, which scorched wide swaths of landscape. Nurturing the forest back to health is expected to take years.
“I know there will be challenges ahead for us, but given those challenges, we also have amazing opportunities," Contreras said.
Contreras has been with the Forest Service for more than 30 years, which included stints as supervisor of the Mendocino National Forest; a legal affairs specialist at the Forest Service National Office; a district ranger and deputy forest supervisor.
He also has extensive fire experience and has participated in numerous task forces and safety investigations, according to the Forest Service.