Craig resident lands sportsman information job at visitor center
February 1, 2011
To Rob Schmitzer, the amount of wildlife in Moffat County at times is comparable to only one other place in the world.
"This can be a Serengeti of North America here when the game are moving," said the 57-year-old Schmitzer. "I'm thrilled every time I see a herd of elk crossing a road and I happen to be fortunate enough to intersect it with them.
"This county itself just has so many opportunities for me personally as well as anyone coming out to have fun."
It will be Schmitzer's job to make sure those coming out for fun — hunters, hikers or tourists — have plenty of information on the land he loves as the Craig Chamber of Commerce's sportsman information specialist, a position he started Monday.
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An avid outdoorsman, Schmitzer brings 31 years of professional outdoors experience to the position. His background includes 25 years with the U.S. Forest Service, split between Steamboat Springs and Douglas, Wyo.
In 2002, he started working for the Bureau of Land Management at the Little Snake Field Office until he retired in 2008.
Schmitzer spent 17 years of his career working within various aspects of recreation.
Prior to getting a job with the Forest Service, he earned a degree in forest biology from Colorado State University.
He said he found his passion for the outdoors growing up in Ohio, where he would frequently find places to hike. It was the Rocky Mountains that lured him to Fort Collins to work on his degree. In 1976, he took a job with the Forest Service in Steamboat Springs, where he spent 20 years before going to Wyoming in 1996.
In 1982 he started exploring the varying landscapes and outlying wilderness of Moffat County.
Christina Oxley, executive director at the Chamber, said that Schmitzer's experience separated him from other applicants.
"We're very excited to have Rob on board," Oxley said. "We've been blessed to have very skilled people in this position and I believe that Rob will continue that tradition."
The job is part-time at the Moffat County Visitor Center but will become a full-time position during hunting season. It will give Schmitzer the chance to work with people and help them get the best out of their trips, he said.
"They were interested in somebody that had a pretty good handle on hunting regulations, game movements, and backcountry areas," Schmitzer said. "That was very much part of the job I had up here (at the BLM) for six years."
He said that he's already enjoying the social aspect of the job.
"I think it's re-fulfilling something in me that, since I retired, I realized I've been missing — interaction with people," Schmitzer said. "They're coming here to find out how to have an enjoyable time and these interactions are almost always positive, so you feel good."
While he primarily enjoys hiking, he also hunts on occasion, and simply likes getting outdoors. It's a passion the job will help him share, he said.
"Moffat County is kind of like one of Colorado's best-kept secrets if you're an outdoorsman," Schmitzer said. "Hiker to hunter, anything in between, we've got beautiful country out here and if you're looking for solitude to do your recreation activities, this is the place."
"As we let more people know what we have here, more people might want to come recreate and the opportunities for solitude might diminish somewhat.
"But still, there's plenty of land for everybody to come out."