For Release: Nov.
24, 2004 CA-N-05-14
Contact: Jeff Fontana (530) 252-5332
BLM'S MASSEY RETIRING
AFTER 30 YEARS IN LAW ENFORCEMENT
He has patrolled the public lands
from the seat of an airboat and the saddle of a mule. He's nabbed public land
pot growers and taught people how to care for unique and often fragile desert
landscapes. His career has taken him away from his roots and back again.
And now, Bureau of Land Management Law Enforcement Ranger Jim Massey is retiring.
With 30 years of federal service behind him, Massey's last day as ranger for
the Surprise Field Office in Cedarville will be Jan. 3.
"Working here really has been the highlight of my career," Massey
said "I have had the latitude and management support to create a law enforcement
program where none existed. And, it's been a dream come true to spend my working
days patrolling this country in the saddle."
BLM Surprise Field Office Manager Owen Billingsley said Massey has been a valuable
member of the staff.
"Jim relates well to people. He is a great educator, informing people about
the public lands and responsible use. He has always been able to walk the fine
line between teacher and law enforcement officer. We're going to miss him,"
Massey came to the BLM's Cedarville office in October of 1993 and embraced the
opportunity to become the "Lone Ranger" for nearly a million and a
half acres of rugged high desert public lands in northeast California and northwest
"I have always been a cowboy at heart, and coming to Cedarville was like
coming home for me," Massey said. "When I crossed Cedar Pass and came
into the Surprise Valley for the first time, I knew immediately that this was
where I belong."
Massey grew up around horses and
ranching. His mother raised Tennessee walkers at their home near Marietta, Georgia,
and from the time he was a teenager he spent as much time as possible out west
on his aunt's ranch near Fort Jones in Siskiyou County.
Time in the Army, including service in Vietnam, and a law enforcement career
took Massey away from the horses and western ranch life he loved. Returning
from Southeast Asia in 1973, he found himself working in the wetlands and swamps
Joining the National Park Service, he became a ranger at Gulf Island National
Seashore in Pensacola. Shortly thereafter, Massey became an airboat patrol ranger
at Everglades National Park. He later served at Big Cypress National Preserve,
where he eventually became the preserve's first district ranger.
He moved west and joined the BLM in 1987, becoming a special agent in the BLM's
drug enforcement program in Medford, Ore. He joined the BLM's law enforcement
rangers in Medford, and then jumped at the chance to come to Cedarville.
"I have had the opportunity to be at the cutting edge of things throughout
my career," he said. "I was the first district ranger at Big Cypress
and the first ranger for the BLM Surprise Field Office. I got the chance to
write the procedures for a mounted patrol program for the BLM here, and I helped
write the law enforcement sections, including mounted patrol, for the new Black
Rock Desert-High Rock Canyon-Emigrant Trails National Conservation Area management
"The highlight of all these years really has been the opportunity to work
in this last frontier," he added. "These have been the best days of
Massey said he plans to stay in the Cedarville area. He will explore a number
of retirement career options, all of which will keep him in the saddle, true
to his cowboy heart.
Surprise Field Office
602 Cressler St. Cedarville, CA 96114
BLM Surprise Field Office Ranger
Jim Massey with his mule, "Hannah," one of two mules he used to patrol
the rugged back country of northeast Modoc County and Northwest Nevada.