Retired from the San Diego Sheriff’s Department after 34 years, Gene Palos is the Blackrock District Wildlife Ambassador, a position that is instrumental in keeping wildlife and humans around Togwotee Pass safe. “I felt being a wildlife ambassador would be a great fit for me, as I do love the outdoors and especially bears and wildlife!” Gene says.
The Blackrock Ranger District Wildlife Ambassador’s primary responsibilities are working to help control and educate the public about the grizzlies that can frequently be seen from U.S. Highway 26 as it travels through the northern district of the BTNF. The bears in this area include grizzly bear 863 (aka Felicia) and any cubs she might have. Not surprisingly, roadside grizzlies often cause bear jams and can inspire behavior dangerous to both people and the bears. “There is no doubt our ability to maintain safety for bears and people reached a level that we could not have dreamed of without these Ambassadors,” says wildlife biologist Jason Wilmot of Blackrock and Jackson Ranger Districts. “We continue to receive kudos and praise from multiple agencies and individuals for the presence, actions, and professionalism of our Ambassadors.” Gene says, “What a better way to preserve our great outdoors and wildlife with the Friends of the Bridger-Teton family?”