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Warrior's Society Letter Requesting the Removal of the District Ranger Due to Mismanagement and the Recent Fire

We have put up a petition to remove Darrell Vance as District Ranger on a change.org petition:

Please take the action by calling or emailing the following individuals stating that as a person who loves the forest you agree with canyon residents, trail work volunteer organizations requesting that Darrell Vance be removed as District Ranger as he has lost the respect of the public due to his mismanagement of the forest.

  1. The Forest Supervisor Scott Tangenberg at:
    Scott.tangenberg@usda.gov
  2. County of Orange Board of Supervisors member Lisa Bartlett
    Lisa.Bartlett@ocgov.com
    (714) 834-3550
  3. County of Orange Board of Supervisors member Donald Wagner
    Donald.Wagner@ocgov.com
    (714) 834-3330

Mr. Tangenberg,

My name is Chris Vargas and I am the executive director of the Warrior's Society Mountain Bike Club. My organization and our supporters/volunteers have maintained the multi-use trails in the Trabuco District for the past 25 years. I have been maintaining this forest longer than most, if not all, of your employees have been assigned there; I have a deep love for this land I have cared for.

In those 25 years I have never dealt with a district ranger as arrogant and unresponsive as Darrell Vance.

It has been 4 years since our trails in Trabuco Canyon were destroyed by fire and the subsequent rain. When I realized that no action is being taken to restore them I did a FOIA request to the Forest Service for materials related to this issue. The documents paint a rosy picture of the trails being restored in two years, but as of yet no funding to accomplish this has been granted. Who is seeking the funding to get these trails restored? Will it be 2,3,4,5 or 6 more years before they are restored?

My and Sierra Club trail work representative Mike McDermott's request to Darrell Vance for biannual updates on the progress in getting the trails in Trabuco Canyon restored were met with silence. I realized Darrell did not want to be held accountable for - and as evident by his lack of action - does not give a damn about getting the trails restored. We realized our pleas were moot; Darrell's silence was proof of the disrespect he has for the dedicated volunteers who perform 99 percent of the maintenance performed on the trails. It is the volunteers, not the Forest Service, who keep the trails maintained. We lost Debra Clark as our dedicated volunteer coordinator and she was the last bulwark advocating for us to Darrell. Only overworked Jacob Rodriguez remains as our last trusted employee in the district.

The Forest Services first mistake in their press release was trying to mask having a controlled burn under the same uncontrollable conditions that caused the Holy Jim Fire by claiming this was beneficial - when in fact they were more than an hour away in Blue Jay. The OCFA probably got there first. Their lies provided the first and second points of attack; the Forest Service shouldn't have had a controlled burn and the controlled burn crews were no where near where the fire originated. The Forest Service, with the never ending fire season we have experiencing , should have had a fire crew on standby.

This incident lends credence to our claims of the bureaucratic and incompetent bumbling in getting the grant funding needed to get our trails restored, grievances we have voiced to the press.

And despite being understaffed and unable to secure the funding to restore our trails - the District Ranger is on special assignment.

This forest is mismanaged and the needs of its residents, volunteers and users neglected and disrespected.

It is time for a change – and I will be relentless in seeking such.

I have no animas toward you and hope you remove Darrell as district ranger.

Although the Sierra Club feels the District has been mismanaged and under resourced for the past 20 years they feel nothing would change if Darrell is removed; it would still be mismanaged. Like us, the Sierra Club has voiced their grievances to the press and will continue to support my campaign to get our trails restored.

We agree with the email canyon residents representative Mike Milligan sent to you, and we, those volunteers who maintained and care for the multi-use trails in the forest, are in total agreement.

Chris Vargas
Apache Dine'
AKA "Dances With Hornets"


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