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Randy Hojem, who has served as the Lolo National Forest's Plains/Thompson Falls district ranger since 2004, has announced that he will retire in January.

Hojem has guided the district through both routine workload and the countless decisions required in managing things like recreation needs of the public, environmental documents, budget priorities and staffing. He has also provided leadership during extraordinary events like the Chippy Creek fire in 2007, which burned 99,000 acres on private, state and national forest lands.

Hojem said he departs the district and the Lolo National Forest with fond memories of the people he has worked with and what they have all been able to accomplish working together.

“It has been an honor and privilege to serve as district ranger on the Plains/Thompson Falls District,” Hojem said. “I have had the pleasure of working with great people, both within and outside the agency.”

Hojem, who grew up in Wisconsin, has worked for the U.S. Forest Service in Colorado, Alaska and Montana. He began his career marking timber on the White River National Forest in 1982. Beginning in 1989, Hojem spent 15 years in several positions on the Tongass National Forest in Alaska before coming to the Lolo National Forest in 2004. He graduated with a bachelor's degree in forestry from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point in 1978.

Hojem also worked for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, a county park in Wisconsin and managed a guest ranch near Meeker, Colorado.

He said he was proud to have been part of the Lolo National Forest and the Plains/Thompson Falls District. His work on integrated restoration projects and being able to help develop the first Forest Service Tribal Forest Protection Act project (McGinnis) and farm bill project (Little Eddy) have been especially gratifying.

Lolo National Forest Supervisor Tim Garcia praised Hojem’s leadership and management of the Plains/Thompson Falls Ranger District.

“Randy provided great leadership to not only his Ranger District employees and partners, but to the national forests in the Northern Region,” Garcia said. “His practical approach to managing complex natural resource issues is a great example that we’ve all benefitted from. Randy will be sorely missed.”

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