Forest Service Welcomes New District Ranger

Contact(s): Nadine Siak

Photo of Theresa Tanner in Forest Service uniform(July 7, 2020) Roanoke, Va – The USDA Forest Service welcomes Theresa Tanner as the new district ranger for the James River and Warm Springs Ranger Districts in Bath and Alleghany Counties, Virginia. Tanner now oversees approximately 350,000 acres of National Forest System lands where controlled burns and vegetation management programs enhance wildlife habitat. Combined, the two districts contain more than 242 miles of trails, six campgrounds and 300 miles of roads. They contain special places like the Eastern National Children’s Forest; Warwick Mansion; Lake Moomaw; and the Bath County Pump Storage Station, one of the largest and most powerful batteries in the world. Tanner reported for duty on June 29 and fills the position following District Ranger Elizabeth McNichols’ retirement. 

“Theresa has years of experience in forest management and a passion for partnering with communities who depend on forest resources, and that is why she is a great fit for the James River and Warm Springs Ranger Districts,” says Forest Supervisor Job Timm.  

“I’m grateful for the opportunity to serve on the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests, and I look forward to working for the Forests and our communities,” says Tanner. “After 21 years of incredible work and life adventures in the far north, I am eager to return to the South, where I was raised.”  

Tanner comes to Virginia from the Chugach National Forest in Alaska where she worked as the ecology program manager and as acting district ranger. Tanner has also worked as an acting district ranger on the Tonto National Forest in Arizona. Before joining the Forest Service in 2015, Tanner worked for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, where she began her career.

Tanner’s previous work shaped her view on forest stewardship. “Subsistence fishing and hunting provide the majority of the foods many rural Alaskan families put on their table,” says Tanner. “Appreciating that level of reliance on forest productivity for food security is a powerful influence on how I perceive my responsibilities as a public land steward. Whether it’s providing jobs through timber contracts or access to recreation opportunities, folks rely on National Forest Service lands for their everyday needs.” 

Tanner has a Master of Science degree in Fisheries Science and a Bachelor of Science degree in Wildlife Biology and Natural Resource Management from the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

Tanner is an avid hiker and boater. She moves here with her adventure buddy, Bella, a mini schnauzer.  “I am excited to further explore Appalachia and to share my deep appreciation for public lands with my nieces and nephews through camping trips and rambles in the woods,” says Tanner.

Tanner can be reached at the James River and Warm Springs District Office (540-839-2521).