The Pisgah River Rangers is an outreach & education program designed to promote the balance between recreation and conservation of Pisgah National Forest and to ensure the ongoing ecological health of its waterways. Rachel Hess is our new Lead River Ranger. Read on to learn more about what led her to work at TPC and what she hopes to accomplish here.

My name is Rachel Hess and I am so excited to lead the Pisgah River Rangers this summer! In this role, I’ll be supporting our program by overseeing outreach and education efforts, coordinating with partners, organizing ranger trainings, and helping plan forest events.
I am originally from Harrisburg, PA and attended Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania earning my degree in Communications with a concentration in Leadership and Public Advocacy. Throughout college, I developed an interest in the outdoors and spent many summers raft guiding, rock climbing, backpacking, and whitewater kayaking all over PA.

Following graduation in the spring of 2017, I landed my first job out of college as a Watershed Fellow, educating and advocating for the Delaware River watershed. I did not hail from an extensive science background and I could not even begin to explain what a watershed was, I just knew I loved to play outside and that I wanted to help protect the places I recreated in. Little did I know the trajectory of my life and interests would change forever.
As I led kayaking trips down the Delaware and taught students about pond & stream ecology, I quickly became fascinated with the wildlife found within our waterways. I realized how much I enjoyed learning about science; especially hands-on in an outdoor setting. I loved sharing fun facts I had learned and encouraging others to become as excited about nature as I was.

5 summers later, I am now working at TPC mentoring students with similar interests and it feels I’ve come full circle. After achieving my liberal arts degree, I did not expect to start such a remarkable journey observing and interpreting my natural surroundings.

As the Lead River Ranger, I look forward to generating more awareness for the program by making the Pisgah River Rangers a household name in our community, and by helping our forest user base understand the invaluable wildlife we have here. This summer, you can find the Pisgah River Rangers along the Davidson River corridor facilitating education activities and keeping our forest litter-free!

When Rachel is not on the job, she enjoys river snorkeling in Pisgah’s pristine streams, exploring mountain summits with her dog, Freckles, and learning how to fly fish.