Angeles National Forest announces key leadership team selections

ARCADIA, Calif. — After a wide-ranging search, the Angeles National Forest has selected two current forest employees to advance and serve in key, permanent leadership positions moving forward. Jamahl Butler will be the new District Ranger on the Los Angeles Gateway Ranger District, and Ricardo Lopez will be the new Forest Engineer.

“The experience, education, and connection to the Los Angeles area shared by Jamahl and Ricardo make them both a great match for what our forest needs in order to meet the challenges ahead,” said Rachel Smith, acting Forest Supervisor. “They both represent the future of our agency and the public we serve, and we can’t wait to see their energy and passion for public service and conservation put to use in their new roles.”

Butler officially took the helm on May 27, while Lopez will begin June 10.

Jamahl Butler has worked for the Forest Service for more than eight years. As a practicing silviculturist and forest ecologist, his focus has been ecological restoration and conservation.  Butler has also served as conservation director for the Memorial Park Conservancy, a non-profit land steward in Houston for one of the largest and most heavily used city parks in the country. He also spent two years with the Utah Department of Natural Resources, Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands. Butler holds a Bachelor’s degree in Forestry from Mississippi State University and a Master’s degree in Natural Resource Management from Utah State University.

Butler first joined the Forest Service in 2000 as a trails crew member on the Sequoia National Forest, and the Angeles National Forest from 2001 to 2007. Since returning to the Angeles in 2016, Jamahl has served as Deputy District Ranger as well as temporary assignments, including acting Public Affairs Officer and acting District Ranger. He has served in the latter role since February 2018, after the unexpected passing of Bob Blount, the previous District Ranger on the Los Angeles Gateway Ranger District.

Ricardo Lopez has worked on the Angeles National Forest for nearly 20 years. He started as a temporary, student employee in 1998 and later obtained a bachelor's degree in civil engineering and a master's degree in structural engineering from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. In 2015, he became the forest facilities engineer and last year completed a 120-day temporary assignment in San Dimas at the National Technology Development Center. His experience ranges from contract management and design work on recreation projects to program manager for facilities, bridges and agreements.

Most recently, he was awarded the Regional Technical Engineer of the Year Award for his work, and he has been essential to the success of the Transit2Trails Program connecting underserved, urban populations to the National Forest and other open space in the greater Los Angeles area. He is a native Angeleno fluent in Spanish and is bilingual/bicultural with strong ties to the community.

Please join us as we congratulate District Ranger Jamahl Butler and Forest Engineer Ricardo Lopez on their new roles.

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