Grand Teton Fills Key Positions in Jenny Lake Subdistrict & Fire Management Office

Scott Guenther, Jenny Lake Subdistrict Ranger

Chip Collins, Fire Management Officer
June 10, 2010
Acting Superintendent Bob Vogel is pleased to announce the selection of two critical park positions. Scott Guenther was chosen as the lead ranger for the Jenny Lake Subdistrict; he will manage the park’s search and rescue operations as well as the backcountry and climbing program. Chip Collins was named as Grand Teton’s Fire Management Officer and will supervise the park’s wildland fire operations in coordination with the functions of the Teton Interagency Fire network. Guenther replaces Renny Jackson, who served as the Jenny Lake Subdistrict Ranger for over five years, and Collins replaces Lisa Elenz who transferred to the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise in the fall of 2009.

Scott Guenther brings a great deal of experience to his new position as Jenny Lake Subdistrict Ranger. He has worked at Grand Teton for 20 years. For eight consecutive seasons from 1995 to 2002, Guenther worked as a seasonal climbing ranger in the Jenny Lake Subdistrict, and for the past eight years, he has served as a permanent Jenny Lake Area ranger. As with others before him, climbing is both Guenther’s passion and profession.

Guenther began his National Park Service (NPS) career at Grand Teton in 1991 when he volunteered as a lake patrol ranger during his days off from duties with the Grand Teton Lodge Company. That winter, he attended an NPS seasonal law enforcement academy and was subsequently hired as a law enforcement ranger stationed at Colter Bay, a position he held from 1992-1994. Guenther became a backcountry ranger working in the Jenny Lake Subdistrict in 1995, and was hired on as a Jenny Lake climbing ranger under Mark Magnuson in 1997.

Guenther moved to Grand Teton in 1991 after graduating from college to begin a summer position with the Grand Teton Lodge Company. He claims that he did not realize the full impact of the Teton Range until he saw them for the first time while driving over Togwotee Pass in early May. That summer, Guenther spent as much time as he could discovering and exploring the Teton backcountry. His experiences inspired him to take personal responsibility for the preservation and protection of Grand Teton’s resources and its wilderness character—a goal he continues to pursue.

Guenther was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana and earned a BA degree in history from Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. He and his wife, Anna Chalfoun—a PhD. wildlife ecologist and research scientist with the Wyoming Cooperative Fish & Wildlife Research Unit and Department of Zoology and Physiology at the University of Wyoming—enjoy climbing, biking and skiing.

Chip Collins has served as the acting Fire Management Officer (FMO) for Grand Teton during the past eight months. In that capacity, he supervises the park’s wildland and prescribed fire operations and coordinates local firefighting operations through an interagency fire management team that includes staff from Grand Teton National Park, Bridger-Teton National Forest and the Jackson Hole Fire/EMS. Collins also assists in the fire management oversight of three other national park units—Fossil Butte National Monument, Fort Laramie National Historic Site, and Big Horn Canyon National Recreation Area. Before he took over as the acting FMO, Collins was the park’s assistant FMO, a position that he has held since 2002. In addition to his duties as assistant FMO, Collins also functions as a long-term fire analyst, and a Type 2 fire use manager, prescribed fire manager, and burn boss. Prior to his current position at Grand Teton, Collins was the prescribed fire specialist from 2000-2002 at Redwood National and State Parks in northwestern California.

Collins began his fire career as a seasonal employee in 1988, the legendary Yellowstone fire season. He worked for six years as a sawyer, firefighter, and prescribed fire monitor in Grand Teton and Yellowstone national parks. He spent five years working as the fire program assistant at Grand Teton, followed by two years (1999 -2000) managing the environmental monitoring program and leading wildland fire use activities at a Everglades National Park.

Collins played a leadership role during the Blacktail Fire of 2003 and supervised the fire response effort during the September 2009 Bearpaw Bay Fire in Grand Teton. On both fires, Collins coordinated interagency firefighting efforts during the initial attack phase and remained directly involved throughout the extended firefighting period.

Collins received a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture (BLA) degree in 1986 from the University of Georgia, School of Environmental Design.

He and his wife, Holly McKinney, have raised their three children, Hunter, Bailey and Hayden, in Grand Teton and are long-time residents of Jackson Hole. When not working on fires or fire management planning, Collins keeps busy with family activities and loves to float the river.