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Information specialist returned to county for retirement

Bridget Manley

— Ned Miller, an information specialist at the Moffat County Visitors’ Center, retired 35 years ago.

At least, he tried to.

“I jokingly say I retired seven times,” Miller said.

Born during the Great Depression, Miller has traveled the world and worked numerous jobs. Yet in his later years, he’s chosen to return to the region of his birth, helping hunters find the elusive, perfect hunt in the county he couldn’t leave behind.

Miller’s love for the area began early on ranches surrounding Craig, he said. There, he began hunting when he was a pre-teen.

“We may have been poor but we never knew it,” Miller said. “We never went hungry.”

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In 1937,when Miller was 3 years old, he and his family, like several other Moffat County families, moved west to California to take part of a Depression recovery program created by the government. There, they lived on a 40-acre dairy farm where they milked their herd by hand.

The Miller family couldn’t stay away. Eventually, Miller said, the majority of the families who relocated – including his – made their way back to Moffat County in the years following World War II.

Later, Miller left Colorado again, this time, to serve his country. During his military service, Miller traveled the world.

“Never Europe – only the good places,” he said, which included Asia and Central and South America.

Then, after serving four years in the Marines and 16 and a half years in the Army, Miller returned to Moffat County and planned to retire.

Instead, he worked in strip mining, acted as a sheriff’s investigator, helped build the Hayden Power Plant, served as an undersheriff and as a posse member on the Moffat County Search and Rescue – a job that gave him a intimate knowledge of the local landscape.

“I know the county as well as most people know the town,” Miller said of Craig.

Miller now lives in Craig with his wife, Cheryl, of 10 and a half years. Together, they have four children and four grandchildren in Pennsylvania, Texas and Ohio.

Four seasons ago, he began working as a sportsman information specialist for the Moffat County Visitors’ Center. His most recent job requires he be able to provide visitors with information about any recreational activity available in Moffat County – “anything that walks through the door.”

“I set out to gain as much information as I could,” he said. “Sometimes you’re hard put when someone wants to go hang gliding.”

During hunting seasons, Miller helps visitors find lodging, outfitters and helps them plan their hunt based on the license they’ve drawn.

“With this work, I go out hunting about 100 times – mentally,” he said, tapping his forehead with a smile.

On a map hung near his desk at the Visitors’ Center, Miller makes careful notes on the information hunters might find useful – elk and deer sightings, for instance, and lands marked off-limits to hunters.

“We try our best to set (hunters) up with the very latest information available to help them have the best vacation they’ve ever had,” Miller said.

“We’re using maps – that I love – and hunting and fishing – that I love. When you enjoy it that much, it’s hard to classify it as work.”

After a life’s worth of work in Moffat County and abroad, he said he takes one day at a time.

“I’m 73, but I feel like I’m 35,” Miller said. “If I get 20 more years, hallelujah. If I get 20 more minutes, hallelujah.”

Bridget Manley can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 207, or bmanley@craigdailypress.com