Director chosen for new division of Parks, Wildlife

Rick Cables

A Pueblo native and longtime U.S. Forest Service worker will head the newly merged Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife.

Rick Cables, who is ending a 35-year career with the Forest Service, was named Monday as executive director of the new division, which Gov. John Hickenlooper proposed and the Colorado Legislature approved.

His new job starts in July.

“This is going to be a new challenge working for a new mission, and a mission that we’re going to create for this new division,” Cables said. “I think in some ways it’s an advantage with these two divisions and not having worked in either one. I’ve already been talking to people all day long about their ideas and their thoughts and where they think the pitfalls are in terms of this working, but I’m extremely optimistic.”

The merger is designed to save the state money and streamline the Division of Wildlife and Colorado State Parks. State budget experts

have said the state can save up to $4 million right away, partly by eliminating 25 unfilled, but redundant positions.

Where it goes from there will depend on other details, and what people think should happen next, Cables said.

“I’m looking forward to having that dialogue with the employees,” he said. “I met with some employees in the interview process ... and I really love talking to employees and learning about their world and what they think needs to happen. I also want to hear what their fears are and their worries.”

Cables has been the regional forester of the Rocky Mountain Region since 2001. In that job he was responsible for the administration of more than 22 million acres in 17 national forests and seven national grasslands.

. in Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota and eastern Wyoming.

Cables was chosen over Tom Remington, director of the Division of Wildlife, who was a finalist for the position. Parks director Dean Winstanley didn’t apply for the job.

Cables graduated from the Northern Arizona University Forestry School in 1976 and immediately worked in national forests in New Mexico and Arizona.

In 1995, he took over as head of the Pike and San Isabel national forests and the Commanche and Cimarron national grasslands in Colorado and Kansas.


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