Rio Grande National Forest headquarters closes doors

Courtesy photo Rio Grande National Forest is moving into its new headquarters, pictured, in Del Norte this month.

MONTE VISTA — After nearly a half century in the office west of Monte Vista, the Rio Grande National Forest (RGNF) headquarters closed its doors on Friday, Feb. 3, for the last time. Forest headquarters will be moving to Del Norte this month upon completion of office furniture and data systems installation in the new building.

“This is a bittersweet departure from Monte Vista,” said Dan Dallas, who has been the Rio Grande National Forest Supervisor since 2007. “While the moving of our headquarters may seem like the end of an era, the Forest remains committed to the community of Monte Vista. We’ll still be here, involved in community events and will engage the community on larger national forest issues.”

Dallas pointed out that the RGNF is a member of the steering committee for the Recreation Economies for Rural Communities program in Monte Vista.

Deputy Forest Supervisor, Andrew Kelher echoed Dallas’ words and added, “I am grateful for all the hard work and dedication from our employees, the school district and members of the community that led to this uncommon milestone in the Rio Grande National Forest’s journey. We look forward to operating from our new, more efficient building.”

In October 2017, the Del Norte School District initially approached the RGNF with a unique opportunity to donate the old high school and land to the Forest. Through tremendous effort by the school district and Forest Service, this opportunity became reality in September 2020, when the title was transferred to the Forest Service. Major renovations were completed, and the Forest accepted the building from the contractor in late January. Finishing touches will continue into the year as weather and supplies permit.

All public services provided by the RGNF, including firewood permits, transplant, and map sales will only be available at its ranger district offices in Saguache, Del Norte, and La Jara.

A dedication ceremony and open house for the new location are being planned for this spring.

For information on the Rio Grande National Forest, call 719-850-2374.