As printed in the Post Register – Dan Garren recently took over as supervisor for the Southeast Region of Idaho Department of Fish and Game. Garren, who’s based at the regional office in Pocatello, has more than 25 years of experience in Fish and Game agencies from three different states.
However, he said he is excited to be a regional supervisor in Idaho, a state whose citizens, he said, are highly engaged with Fish and Game. “Essentially we’re trying to provide opportunities for recreation,” Garren said. “And when you have an active and engaged sporting public, you just know that people appreciate the opportunities that you’re providing out there. I would 10 times rather have an active pubic than one that’s kind of disengaged from the resource.”
As regional supervisor, Garren oversees all management programs within his region. “Basically everything that Fish and Game is doing falls under the responsibility of the regional supervisor.”
Garren previously served as regional fisheries manager for the Idaho Department of Fish and Game in Idaho Falls. And though the Southeast Region is, as any other region, often buzzing with activity, Garren said he plans to spend his first few weeks on the job learning. “I certainly didn’t come in with an agenda,” he said. “I look at my role right now as just trying to learn. I’m in a learning phase right now trying to get up to speed on what’s historically been done and where we want to go in the future.”
But Garren already has shown interest in some of the region’s activities. He was one of the voices that expressed concern over Pocatello’s Wildlife Feeding Ordinance, which was recently proposed to the Pocatello City Council by the Urban Wildlife Task Force. The council agreed to further discuss the ordinance during a work study session, but the ordinance was pulled from the agenda after Garren, among others, took issue with the complicated prospect of enforcement of the ordinance. Garren said that, though Fish and Game serves as a technical adviser to the task force, the future of the ordinance was primarily up to the members of the task force themselves.
“We can provide the science behind different management options to the technical committee, but they’re really the drivers behind this,” Garren said. “And they’re the ones that need to work with city council to get an appropriate rule in place that the city council buys off on and that meets the objectives of the technical group.”
For the most part, though, Garren said he is still learning the ropes of the region. “I think the challenge for me is going to be getting up to speed on the issues as fast as they’re coming at us,” he said. “You come in to work thinking that you’re going to be working on a specific topic, and the reality is that you’re probably going to get something you weren’t even expecting. The diversity is pretty substantial, and I enjoy that.” He added that he has also enjoyed working with the region’s staff, who he said have been instrumental in helping him adjust to his new position.
“The exciting part is walking into a region where the staff is engaged and knowledgeable about the issues and willing to work with the public,” Garren said. “I’ve been really impressed with the quality of the staff and their engagement.” Overall, Garren said he looks forward to interacting with “these resources and these customers” in his new role and asked that the public be open. “I’d love to hear from people,” he said. “I’d love to hear thoughts and concerns about our programs as a whole and get a better understanding of what our public wants.”