Bureau of Land Management road patrols have been scarce for more than a year, as budget constraints left the ranger position vacant at the Little Snack Field Office in Craig.
That post was filled Wednesday, when Gail Mullen was sworn in as the agency's newest law enforcement officer.
The BLM's associate state director, Douglas Koza, visited Craig to swear in Mullen. Other BLM rangers and personnel attended the ceremony, as well as officials from the Moffat County Sheriff's Office and the Craig Police Department.
Although she'll wear a badge and carry a gun, Mullen's job should be as much about public relations as law enforcement, said John Husband, the field manager at the Little Snake Field Office.
"I didn't want to just hire someone to be a cop," Husband said. "I wanted someone who could put a face on the BLM and be an ambassador in the field."
Husband said Mullen will be in the field more than anyone else in the office. She undoubtedly will have to enforce the laws that protect cultural and natural resources. But Husband said he hopes Mullen can educate residents and answer their questions about land uses and other issues.
People may ask her where they can cut down a Christmas tree, where they can camp or ride off-highway vehicles, or whether they can build a fire.
Most recently, Mullen was a ranger working in Yosemite National Park in California. Mullen worked at the Little Snake Field Office a couple of years ago as a seasonal wildlife technician. She said she fell in love with the Craig community and the surrounding lands.
"It's amazing country here," Mullen said. "It's very beautiful."
She said she considers herself a guardian of the nation's natural resources, such as wildlife, and the cultural resources, including American Indian artifacts. She also will contact people just to say hello or ask whether they need assistance.
Mullen said she'll be starting her patrols soon.
Jeremy Browning can be reached at 824-7031 or firstname.lastname@example.org