Dillon Ranger District bids adieu to longtime employee Howard Scott | SummitDaily.com

Dillon Ranger District bids adieu to longtime employee Howard Scott

Summit Cove resident Howard Scott, 62, recently retired from the U.S. Forest Service after 38 years on the Dillon Ranger District.

Back in the spring of 1979, things were different for the U.S. Forest Service, Howard Scott recalls.

"We did everything ourselves," the longtime Summit County resident reminisced. "We took care of our own vehicles, campground furniture and signs, and it was a real hands-on operation. The job is still done well (today), but it was just done by a bunch of young, eager college students who would go out and get their hands dirty in the forest."

It was done by people like Scott, who moved to Colorado following completion of a degree in recreation and park administration from Western Illinois University. After summering with the state parks department, he made the transition over to the Forest Service, and never looked back. Now, after 38 years — all of them on the Dillon Ranger District — the 62-year-old resident of Summit Cove who was charged with the district's campgrounds, utility maintenance and other developed recreation supervision, has called it a career.

Since those early years with the federal agency, when he oversaw many of the campgrounds' other seasonal workers, Scott has been a survivor. For nine years, he'd find other winter employment before finally catching on full time. That led to enduring several organizational restructures through the '80s and '90s, each time finding new footing as a vital staff member. The job titles would change, but the needs of the White River National Forest — one of the highest trafficked in the country — remained the same, and it meant increased duties every handful of years or so.

Since 1997, Scott has fulfilled the role of recreation technician, which entailed presiding over both the Dillon and Green Mountain reservoirs, as well as fire management and coordination with the area emergency service agencies. For the last two decades, 14 of them as chair, Scott has also been involved with the Dillon Reservoir Committee, helping various stakeholders collaborate on decision making and administering permits on the popular community amenity.

In retirement from the Forest Service, Scott plans to take some time to consider a second career. What he and his wife Karen, a retired nurse who now works in the health sciences department at Summit High School, did not want to do was leave their home of nearly four decades.

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"I like Summit County," he said. "I want to stay."

Scott also plans to spend more time with his two daughters and two grandchildren. An avid whitewater rafter, backpacker and skier, he hopes to get out more often for recreation in the environment he fell in love with and that brought him to Colorado in the first place. A few more trips to Wolford Mountain Reservoir in Grand County, in addition to Green Mountain, for more waterskiing, and taking up fly-fishing are also activities he sees in his immediate future.