Idaho Panhandle Forests Supervisor, Coeur d'Alene, Idaho
Over the past 32 years, Ranotta McNair has worked herself upward through the ranks of the U.S. Forest Service, from Oregon volunteer to supervisor of the 2.4 million-acre Idaho Panhandle National Forests. At her present position in Coeur d'Alene
since 2001, she deals with vast responsibilities while overseeing the management of natural resources, business
operations and customer services. More specifically, Ranotta's job description entails year-round management of
"diverse outdoor recreational experiences, forest health, fire suppression, timber harvest, archeology, water quality,
watershed health, geology and minerals, outreach and partnerships, fisheries and wildlife and infrastructure management."
In spite of this success and responsibility, this forest supervisor says she's not too proud to volunteer to clean up trash
along roadways. "In most Forest Service jobs you get really connected to your community," she says, "and you become
part of the community . . . Forest Service folks volunteer in the community." As a mother of two, Ranotta's volunteerism
focuses around youth development, youth soccer, leadership training, volunteering at a food bank and, yes, picking up
trash. "I enjoy doing my part and giving back to the community, regardless of the task," she says.
Ranotta has reason to take great pride in her career achievements. With an interest in natural resources stemming from
family camping trips along Oregon's scenic Metolius River, she enrolled in the Youth Conservation Corps and eventually
completed a two-year forestry program while working as a student volunteer for the Forest Service. After six years
of practical forestry experience, she moved on to Oregon State University School of Forestry, where she earned
her Bachelor of Science Degree. Her career has included positions in Oregon, Idaho and North Carolina.
Ranotta's resume includes serving as a forester, district ranger and resource staff officer. As Forest Service
representative at the Regional Ecosystem Office in Portland, Ore., her efforts of reaching out to communities, counties, tribal
governments, states and two Forest Service regional offices to "establish and meet mutual goals and outcomes for land and
natural resources," helped in the development of laying the foundation for the Pacific Northwest Final Plan which gave natural
resource direction for 24 million acres of public land, spanning from Oregon to Washington to Northern California.
In the late 1990s she assumed the position as deputy forest supervisor for the 1.2 million-acre Nantahala, Pisgah,
Uwharrie and Croatan National Forests in North Carolina. "I spent 3 ½ years there," she says. "I was in the
Appalachian Mountains in the Old Smoky area. It's very different but beautiful. What I really liked was learning
about the people and the communities." That same outlook followed her to Idaho where she loves bringing
together people who have contrasting opinions on how forests should be administered. "Here, they have
a genuine love for their "backyard forest lands," she says. "We have a lot of people who volunteer and
partner with us.
"People with totally diverse views come to the table," she adds, "and after a while, they're listening to one
another. Eventually they come up with an approach to an activity that is good for all of us, based on
science, community values and public interests." To suggest that Ranotta loves her work could be an
understatement. She's happy spending her career with an agency that promotes balance between
family and work. She also enjoys meeting people in her day-to-day duties, ranging from Nobel
laureates to loggers to biologists to community activists. On any given day, she may spend
several hours in the office, meeting with groups to discuss issues such as wild-land fire use,
proposed legislation dealing with off-road vehicles, Border Patrol concerns, or environmental
management of the forest. Other days, she might be climbing on a horse and heading down
a trail for an overnight trip to the mountains.
"There is no such thing as a typical day," she says, "That's what I love about this job."
Like her colleagues in the industry, welfare of public lands remains her prime motivator
for showing up to work each day. "My passion is the outdoors. I really like natural resources,"
she explains. "I like the Forest Service because we are an agency that makes memories.
We're stewards of the public's backyard playground. We support communities by providing
meaningful jobs and homes for the species people love to see.
It's the passion around all that."
Want to know more?
º U.S Forest Service
º Information about the Idaho Panhandle National Forests
º Overview of Careers in the U.S. Forest Service
º Job Information for Students and Parents
º Job Openings in the U.S. Forest Service
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Idaho Forest Products Commission
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