New Faces In Angeles National Forest Administration
Three management changes have been announced for the Angeles National Forest. The U.S. Forest Service has appointed Tom Contreras as acting forest supervisor. In addition, L’Tanga Watson transitioned from district ranger for the San Gabriel River Ranger District to become the new forest recreation officer and O’Dell Tucker has been named new ranger for that district.
Tom Contreras is the forest supervisor for the Mendocino National Forest in Willows, Calif. He is skilled in Forest Service policy and highly qualified in land management administration. During the past few months, he has assisted the Angeles as acting forest supervisor and has agreed to remain indefinitely until a permanent supervisor for the forest has been selected.
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He began his Forest Service career in 1976 as an environmental interpreter on the Ashley National Forest, Utah and has served in nine national forests in three Forest Service regions, the Intermountain Regional Office headquarters in Utah and the Pacific Southwest Region Office in Vallejo. Prior to his position on the Mendocino, he was deputy forest supervisor for the Shasta-Trinity National Forest and served there as regional winter sports specialist, providing expertise on winter sports management to state and federal agencies.
He has also held positions as legal affairs specialist at the Forest Service National Office, district ranger and deputy supervisor at multiple forests, and recreation staff officer at Uinta National Forest in Utah. He also has extensive fire experience and has participated in numerous task forces and safety investigations.
Contreras was born and raised in Phoenix. He has bachelor’s degrees in forest management, outdoor recreation management administration, and environmental interpretation from Colorado State University and University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom.
Contreras has three children: Adam, 23; Melissa, 21; and Lindsey, 19. He enjoys a wide variety of outdoor recreation including water and snow skiing, camping and hiking, and is an experienced horseman. He has a sense of adventure and enjoys new and challenging activities. His interests include classic cars, aviation and travel.
L’Tanga Watson has been a dedicated Forest Service employee since 1991, when she began as a landscape architect intern for the Green Mountain National Forest, Vt. Later assignments included project leader for the National Forests, Miss., deputy district ranger for the Kisatchie National Forest, La., and acting district ranger for the Cleveland National Forest, Calif.
Watson has earned a bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture from Louisiana State University, and a master’s degree in public administration from University of La Verne.
Watson also served as a U.S. Army logistics officer, retiring at the rank of major. She enjoys motorcycle sport riding in her personal time.
Watson, previous ranger over the San Gabriel district, has been appointed as recreation officer for the Angeles. Her duties cover overseeing and managing all recreation operations and functions in the forest including hiking, camping, water and ski areas and the forest’s designated Wilderness areas.
Originally from Baton Rouge, La., she served as ranger over the San Gabriel district since 2007. Her accomplishments include: evicting squatters out of the San Gabriel River East Fork area, enhancing relations with special-use, private cabin owners and the Mount Baldy community and improving billing processes.
O’Dell Tucker was selected as ranger in charge of the San Gabriel River Ranger District, one of the most heavily visited national forest areas in the nation. His previous position was ranger for the Mount Pinos Ranger District in Los Padres National Forest, since 2009. During his tenure, he helped administer numerous projects funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, including a new district office.
Tucker, originally from McKenny, VA, has been a Forest Service employee for eight years. He began as a forest technician in 2003, working with timber sales and timber-area improvement in the Allegheny National Forest, Pa. He later served in positions including civil rights committee chairperson and assistant district ranger in the Alleghany, zone National Environmental Policy Act coordinator and assistant district ranger in Monongahela National Forest, West Va.; deputy district ranger in White Mountain National Forest, N.H. and Maine; and district ranger in Lassen National Forest, Calif.
He has a bachelor’s degree in forest and fire management and a master’s degree in forestry, both from West Virginia University.Tucker has four children: Faith, 15; O’Dell Jr., 9; Isaac, 8; and Zachary, 2. In his personal time, he enjoys swimming, lifting weights, and is a personal trainer.