Jim Thornton, a ranger for the Forest Service of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and native of Hood River, was recently awarded the 2018 Recreationalist of the Year by the Oregon State Snowmobile Association (OSSA). Thornton won the same award 20 years ago in 1998.
“It’s really cool to work with OSSA, and to get the award again,” said Thornton. “We had different players in the organization and different people to work with, so to win reminded me that I’m consistent with my message in helping them.”
The OSSA was formed in 1972 with the intent to provide a groomed statewide trail system and assure continued access to public land across Oregon. They currently have 25 member clubs and a trail system of 6,410 miles. The organization is entirely volunteer-based and works frequently with the Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management and other land managers to develop quality trails.
Thornton was nominated by the Mt. Hood Snowmobile Club, a member of OSSA, who highlighted in their nomination letter why Thornton deserved the award: “When we wanted to open new trails, Jim spent the day on the mountain with one of our members, surveying the requested roads ... After working with Jim for several months, we finally got our new map completed. Our club members and officers are extremely happy with the finished product.”
Mt. Hood Snowmobile Club also noted that Thornton made a point to introduce their representative to all the Rangers across the three districts they operated in. They commemorated his fair and balanced approach to working with their group and ensuring all members are able to access the mountain.