Acting District Ranger Selected as Candidate for Ava – Cassville – Willow Springs District

AVA, Mo. (July 30, 2019) –Cody Lunsford served as the Acting District Ranger of the Ava/Cassville/Willow Springs (ACW) Ranger District  beginning March 11 and was selected to fill the permanent Ranger position on July 7.  

Lunsford comes to Mark Twain National Forest from the Daniel Boone National Forest in Kentucky, where he oversaw the natural resources and fire programs.

“The Forest is excited to have Cody join our Forest Service team,” states Jennifer Youngblood, Acting Deputy Forest Supervisor. “He brings a wealth of technical skills along with a wonderful appreciation for the communities served by the MTNF.”

Lunsford earned a degree in Rangeland Ecology Management with an emphasis in Prescribed Fire from Oklahoma State University.  Lunsford has been employed with the USDA since 2004. He began his Forest Service career on the Coconino National Forest in Flagstaff, Arizona as a wildland firefighter; and since then he has been employed with both the Forest Service and the Natural Resource Conservation Service.  Lunsford has a strong passion for prescribed fire and natural resource management. He has been fortunate enough to be able to utilize his knowledge and skills in both government settings and for the private agricultural sector in many different parts of the country.

The ACW Ranger District’s landscapes includes oak-hickory forests, shortleaf pine forests, and glades.  Western desert-like habitats in the glades and eastern forests merge together to provide habitat for a myriad of unique and wonderful wildlife, including eagles, roadrunners black bears, scorpions and tarantulas. 

This part of Mark Twain National Forest is also a great recreation destination.  

The beautiful North Fork River is the pride of Willow Springs Area. A total of nine major springs flow into the river; two of the largest, Big Springs and Blue Spring, contribute some 18 million gallons of cold, clear water every day.  The river is popular with canoeists, as well as anglers. 

ACW Ranger District contains three of seven congressionally – designated Wilderness Areas: Devils Backbone, Hercules Glades, and Piney Creek Wildernesses. 

It has the Forest’s only National Forest Scenic Byways—Blue Buck Knob, Glade Top Trail, and Sugar Camp.

“I am honored that I was selected to serve as the District Ranger,” stated Lunsford.  “I am glad I had a chance to engage with the community on my detail assignment and am ready to keep all the great projects we are working on moving forward.”