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February 2024

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Questa Forest District Has New District Ranger

The Carson National Forest announced that new permanent district rangers have been appointed: Amy Simms will lead the Questa Ranger District and Kelly Garcia will manage the Tres Piedras Ranger District.

Courtesy Photo Amy Simms, Questa District Ranger

Amy Simms, Questa District Ranger
Simms was raised in Taos. She has worked for the Forest Service for over 20 years, much of it on the Carson National Forest in recreation and fire. Some positions were as a fire prevention technician; the recreation and lands program manager; and, most recently for the last five years, as the public services staff officer, overseeing recreation, real estate, special-use permits and cultural resources across the forest. She was the acting Tres Piedras District Ranger for four months in 2022.

“The Carson has been my home forest all my life, and I’m so happy to be able to continue be one of its many stewards,” said Simms. Simms has a bachelor’s degree in natural resource recreation and tourism with an emphasis in park and protected area management from Colorado State University. She is a proud graduate of Taos High.

She enjoys running, biking, skiing and seeing her family. “Both sides of my family are from New Mexico,” she said. “I have four younger sisters, and everyone lives within driving distance from each other.”
Simms replaces former Questa district Ranger Adam LaDell, who last fall moved to Montana to be the Spotted Bear District Ranger on the Flathead National Forest.

Kelly Garcia, Tres Piedras District Ranger
Garcia hails from Mogote, Colorado, where he has been working on the Rio Grande National Forest as a rangeland management specialist. Like Simms, he’s a career employee, starting out as a volunteer in the late 1990s and building his career since. Most of his experience is in rangeland management, but he has also worked in botany, soils, hydrology, air pollution monitoring, wilderness, trails, travel management and stock/equine.

Courtesy Photo Kelly Garcia , Tres Piedras District Ranger

“I’m really looking forward to becoming part of the Carson family,” said Garcia. “It really has some wonderful country and people.”

Garcia earned his rangeland management qualifications from Colorado State University. He received a bachelor’s degree in environmental science from Adam State University.

He enjoys hiking, backpacking, hunting, cross country skiing and most everything else outdoors. He also farms, focusing on hay for horses.

Indoors, he enjoys a good movie. A favorite of his is “A River Runs Through It.” He is inspired by the footage, resembling “The Greatest Good” film, and gets a good chuckle during the scene when the father suggested a career with the Forest Service was a poor option. Garcia would have much different advice.