Forest Service spokesperson retires |

Forest Service spokesperson retires

Susan Wood, Tahoe Daily Tribune

The public affairs officer for the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit wants to spend more time in the environment, so she’s retiring.

“That’s the irony of this job,” PIO Linda Massey said. “We’re supposed to be taking care of this forest, but we don’t have enough time to get out into it as often as we’d like to.”

The South Lake Tahoe woman will hang up her hat March 24 after working 30 years for the federal government. Eleven of those years were spent at the U.S. Forest Service unit here.

Massey plans to continue to call Lake Tahoe home for as far into the future as she can see, but she also intends to travel extensively.

Throw a dart at a world map, and you’re apt to hit an area the solo traveler wants to visit — Russia, England, Ireland, Africa and Germany.

Massey had fond memories of traveling with her family in western Europe as a child, and she wants to rekindle those memories.

Her father worked for a decade in the U.S. Army, the employer he urged her to work for before the Forest Service.

“I wasn’t going to have anything to do with the Army. But they were offering training opportunities, and they kept offering promotions to places I wanted to go,” she said.

Massey worked as a civilian for the Army, which took her to Hawaii and San Francisco.

“From these places, I got deeply involved in environmental issues,” she said.

Massey worked at the Presidio base in San Francisco between 1972-78 when the Army was relinquishing control of certain sites.

At the time, Massey was impressed with the Army as a steward of the prime city property within the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

The most emotional period came in 1974 when hundreds of orphans were brought there from Vietnam nearing the end of the Asian conflict.

Massey and others helped organize mass adoptions through local agencies.

After taking stints in the Bay Area, Monterey, Hawaii and Pueblo, Colo., it didn’t take much persuasion to get Massey to take the LTBMU job, she said. While in the Bay Area, she came to the basin to ski.

Her most memorable time at Lake Tahoe involved the presidential forum.

“Certainly, it’s not every day you work an event in which the president and vice president of the United States are central figures,” she said. “It was interesting to see how teams come in with barely enough time to spare.”

Beyond taking leisure trips and honing her piano-playing skills, Massey plans to spend time on family activities like visiting her mother in Williamsburg, Va.

“One reason I’m taking retirement is I’m not giving as much time to family responsibilities,” she said.

Massey expects to get a lot of enjoyment at home as well — hiking the trails of Tahoe.

While she’s using the trails, Massey’s successor will be managing them. Rex Norman moved to Tahoe from Fort Laramie, Wyo., a place he describes as having weather so cold it’s “biblical.”

“I’m excited about my new position. I’ve been interested in getting into public affairs work,” Norman said.

For five of the 18 years the National Park Service has employed him, Norman worked at the Fort Laramie National Historic Site. He returned to California in January with his wife, Jean.

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