New and old faces set to join Dillon Ranger District
Adam Bianchi couldn’t escape the charm of Summit County. Most recently working as the regional environmental coordinator at the United States Forest Service Rocky Mountain Regional Office in Lakewood, he only had the job for about a year before returning to familiar territory.
Bianchi served as deputy district ranger for the Dillon Ranger District from 2016 to 2020. During that time, he witnessed the Peak 2 Fire and Buffalo Mountain Fire while working on vegetation management and fuels reduction under district ranger Bill Jackson.
Originally from Iowa, Bianchi has been employed for 15 years with the Forest Service across the country as a forester, harvest inspector, timber sale administrator and more from South Dakota to California to Michigan.
“I’ve gotten to work at pretty beautiful and unique places across the country, and the Dillon Ranger District is definitely one of those that makes you excited to get up every morning and work with partners and the community.”
He loves being back in a small, tight-knit community as a place for him to raise his three daughters — 6-month-old twins and a 2-year-old. He said the county is reminiscent of his childhood where he fostered a passion for the outdoors with hunting and fishing. He wants to make the land as healthy as possible while providing the public with various activities.
“There’s limited places where you feel like you can escape and feel wild due to the amount of agriculture in the state,” Bianchi said. “I recognized from a young age the value of natural resources and public lands and what it means to people.”
Though the Lakewood job was a promotion, he couldn’t pass up the opportunity to return and work on programs he believes in. Every day has different duties, but he looks forward to working alongside the ski resorts as they make improvements, facilitating public input on various projects and dealing with fire prevention initiatives throughout the county.
“The regional office was a great experience, and I enjoyed my time,” Bianchi said, “but it just doesn’t compare to actually physically being on the ground and getting your hands dirty in the projects and rubbing elbows with the community and partners.”
One of his main goals is to balance conservation and recreation when it comes to dispersed campsites and popular trailheads such as Quandary Peak. The district is high-use due to its proximity to the Front Range and connection to the resorts, so he wants to make sure facilities are safe and resources last for multiple generations.
There’s also the balance of personal life outside of work. Like many Colorado residents, Bianchi is a fan of breweries and skiing, both of which happen to be abundant in the county. He can’t pick a favorite place to ski, saying they each provide something different, but he appreciates that his office is down the street from Angry James Brewing Co.
As Bianchi replaces Jackson — who went to work at Lake Tahoe Basin National Forest — he is joined by Chris Stewart as the new deputy district ranger. Stewart followed in the footsteps of his father who also has 15 years of Forest Service experience under his belt and is coming from Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest in Washington. He’s been in Washington for 6 1/2 years, using his hydrology background to focus on water quality issues, but has also worked in North Carolina and his home state of California.
Stewart will now be Bianchi’s right-hand man.
“My goal is to be there for Adam and to help him with all the work the district is doing with partners internally and everything else,” Stewart said. “I’m going to try to learn and grow as much as I can.”
A sea kayaker, skier and landscape photographer, Colorado’s mountains and outdoor recreation opportunities drew him to Summit County.
“Obviously, I’m moving quite a bit inland, but I know there’s two reservoirs on the district that I’m pretty excited to take my boat out on,” Stewart said.
He’s visited the area on work-related trips, but only in the summer and fall, so he’s eager to finally ski in Colorado and trade the “Sierra cement” for the snow he’s heard so much about. However, like Bianchi, Stewart is most anxious to get to work.
“We’re extremely excited to hit the ground running,” Bianchi said. “Chris and I haven’t worked together before, so we’ll be building our relationship, too. It should be a great opportunity, and we look forward to people reaching out to us introducing themselves. We’re just really excited to get started.”
Bianchi and Stewart will start working by the end of April.
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