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Interim Chelan District Ranger Paul Willard is now permanent Chelan District Ranger Paul Willard, who continues his duties at the Entiat ranger district as well. That word Thursday from the U.S.forest Service.

Willard will oversee management of over 100 personnel on the two units, and the work they do to maintain, restore, and protect nearly 700,000 acres of federal land that also encompasses portions of the Lake Chelan-Sawtooth and Glacier Peak Wildernesses, including Lake Chelan recreation areas.

Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest Supervisor Kristin Bail said Willard is highly respected for his leadership and skill working with volunteer groups and agency partners on trail and recreation improvement projects, adding that he recently coordinated the replacement of several aging boat docks along Lake Chelan that provide critical infrastructure to commercial and recreation transportation services to up-lake destinations of Holden and Stehekin.

Willard grew up in East Tennessee, and joined the Forest Service in 1991 as an archaeologist on the Eldorado National Forest. He’s worked on seven National Forests in five Regions, and has been the acting District Ranger for the Entiat and Chelan Ranger Districts since last August.

Willard says he's looking forward to putting the new tools and authorities provided by the Central Washington Initiative to work, focusing on improving wildfire resiliency within the wildland urban interface areas of the districts.

Willard replaces Kari Grover-Weir, who was appointed Lead for the Central Washington Initiative last September, so she's still in the area.

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