Daks Kennedy

HELFIN — The Shoal Creek Ranger District of the Talladega National Forest has a new, but temporary, district ranger.

Daks Kennedy, 48, has been on the job for two months at the 117,000-acre district replacing Karen McKenzie, who retired after 39 years in the Forest Service — the last nine as district ranger at the Shoal Creek District. 

Kennedy said on Friday that he’s on loan from the Conecuh National Forest in south Alabama for a four-month detail while a new ranger can be employed.

Kennedy said he is familiar with the forested hills of northeastern Alabama after working in the area earlier in his career. His job, he said, is to keep ongoing operations in place so when the new district ranger arrives things will be ready.

“Just continuing on with the operations we have, that’s the biggest key to somebody acting. Caring for the land and serving the people, just like our motto is,” Kennedy said. 

Kennedy said some of the ongoing operations at the Shoal Creek District include restoring longleaf habitats, improvements and caretaking for the red-cockaded woodpecker habitat and improving recreational opportunities. 

The Shoal Creek district includes a multitude of attractions including two developed campgrounds, 35 miles of horse trails, 70 miles of hiking trails, hunting, fishing, scenic driving, streams and lakes which are all in a forested setting.

The Shoal Creek District office is located at 45 Highway 281 in Heflin. For more information call 256-463-2272.