Elk NetworkForest Service Employee Honored for Conservation Work

General | July 6, 2022

Below is a news release from the US.. Forest Service. Mike Muñoz played a key supporting role in assisting the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation with the Falls Creek project and other conservation efforts.

Rocky Mountain District Ranger Mike Muñoz was recently recognized for his exemplar leadership with the John R. McGuire award, one of the highest honors a Forest Service employee can receive.

“Muñoz is a national leader in fire management and the appropriate use of fire in the right place at the right time,” said Bill Avey, who recently retired as the forest supervisor of the Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest.  “I appreciate his leadership, courage, and judgement in managing a complex program from travel management planning to his relations with sovereign Tribal Nations and the management of the culturally sacred Badger Two Medicine over these past 23 years.”

This year’s award ceremony took place outside the National Museum of Forest Service History in Missoula, Montana.  The recipient of the award is chosen by the National Association of Forest Service Retirees to honor John R. McGuire, the tenth chief of the Forest Service.  John R. McGuire was known for his leadership to meet the challenges of today and the future while continuing on with the mission of the agency.

Muñoz’s many accomplishments include contributing to the finalization of the Rocky Mountain Heritage Act that was signed into law by President Obama, opening up 25,000 acres of prime Forest Service managed lands through a partnership with the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, and working with the Blackfeet Nation, neighboring forests, and partners to keep the landscape thriving for this generation and many generations to come.

“We are at a point where Indigenous Traditional Ecological Knowledge and western science are converging, and they are walking the same path and direction in recognizing fire as a benefit to the land,” said Mike Muñoz. “We must care for the land first and foremost because without a healthy living landscape, we as an agency have nothing from which to serve the people.”

(Photo source:  Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation)