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News Release

For Release: Nov. 24, 2004 CA-N-05-14
Contact: Jeff Fontana (530) 252-5332


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," Billingsley said.

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 Nevada.

"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 of Florida.

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 plan.

"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 my career."

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.

  Page last updated: 2004-12-01 08:03:52.84
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