The new Heppner district ranger for the Umatilla National Forest has experience in both ranching and forestry.
The U.S. Forest Service announced Monday that Brandon Houck will take over as district ranger, effective June 25.
Houck replaces Ann Niesen, who transferred to a Superior National Forest district office in Aurora, Minnesota.
“The Umatilla is fortunate to have such a highly qualified district ranger join the forest’s leadership staff,” Umatilla National Forest Supervisor Eric Watrud said in a statement. “His skills and background are an outstanding complement to the priority work the forest is doing and the interests of the communities and partners that we serve.”
Houck has been a wildlife biologist for the Shoshone National Forest in Dubois, Wyoming, and served as acting district ranger for the Nantahala National Forest in Murphy, North Carolina, earlier this year.
Houck grew up on a cattle ranch in Kansas before obtaining a bachelor’s degree in wildlife biology from Kansas State University and a master’s degree in wildlife and fisheries science from Mississippi State University.
Prior to joining the Forest Service, he worked for the National Wild Turkey Federation for 15 years as the western director of conservation operations.
Houck has been married for 15 years to his wife, Julie, and has two children. He enjoys hunting, fishing and camping.