Gunflint District Ranger Departs to Greener Pastures

     I still can’t believe our District Ranger Dennis Neitzke is leaving the Boundary Waters and us behind. He’s been with us for 11 years, we finally had him trained and now he’s heading to North Dakota to be a Forest Supervisor. A step up in the ranks of the US Forest Service but a step away from us and that makes us sad.

     We’ve had a couple of other District Rangers during our 20 years of owning Voyageur Canoe Outfitters but none of them have been like Dennis. As outfitters we don’t always see eye to eye with the Forest Service but Dennis kept his ears open and listened to our concerns and ideas.

      With his help we were able to accomplish great things on the Gunflint Trail.  He was instrumental in opening Chik-Wauk Museum and Nature Center, the Becoming a Boundary Waters Family Program and the Gunflint Green Up.  To my knowledge there hasn’t been a ranger in our district who has ever done more than Dennis.

     He’s been an integral part of the community and even colored his hair pink for our Mush for a Cure FUNdraiser.  That was before he had it all shaved off at the big event. He’s log rolled against a resort owner and I think he may have even sat in a dunk tank a time or two.  What a great sport.

     During his time as our District Ranger we experienced numerous large forest fires. While they were very challenging times his calm, cool demeanor helped keep my hysteria in check. His agressive, proactive prescribed burns before the major fires weren’t popular but did wonders to protect property during the forest fires.

     It’s obvious to see why we don’t want to see Dennis leave but he’s leaving nonetheless.  It takes alot to earn my respect and admiration but Dennis did just that.  He’s leaving behind big shoes to fill but if anyone can just fill one of those shoes then I’d say they are doing a pretty good job.  Our loss is North Dakota’s gain and we wish Dennis all the best.