PENDLETON — The Heppner District of the Umatilla National Forest will soon have a new ranger.

Doug McKay will take over the position, according to a press release, toward the end of June. McKay currently serves as a district ranger on the Winter Rim Zone, which includes both the Paisley and Silver Lake ranger districts, of the Fremont-Winema National Forest in Southern Oregon.

“I am extremely excited to be a part of the Umatilla National Forest and the local community,” he said. “I look forward to meeting the district and forest staff and working collaboratively with the public and our partners throughout the area in the very near future.”

McKay replaces Brandon Houck, who has taken a district ranger position on the Bighorn National Forest. McKay brings a variety of experience to the Umatilla National Forest, including a strong natural resources and fire management background and experience working with a variety of tribal governments, county commissioners, partners, public stakeholders and other federal agencies.

McKay has worked as the Winter Rim Zone district ranger on the Fremont-Winema National Forest since 2015. McKay is responsible for leading a large and geographically dispersed organization, managing a complex landscape, leading fire management efforts to protect communities, and working closely with a variety of external stakeholders.

McKay also brings leadership experience through a number of temporary assignments, including serving as the acting public services officer on the Sierra National Forest, the acting regional manager for the Tribal Relations Program for the Pacific Southwest Region based out of Vallejo, California, and the acting heritage program manager on the San Bernardino National Forest.

McKay has an extensive background in archaeology and heritage and has served in various archaeology roles throughout his career, including as a district archaeologist on the San Bernardino National Forest and the forest archaeologist on the Sierra National Forest.

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