December 6, 2021 – Sierra District staff (past and present) along with district partners met at Empire Mine State Historic Park (SHP) on Tuesday, November 30, to celebrate the retirement of Chief Ranger Matt Green. After lunch and cake, many of the attendees spoke of the great contributions Matt has made to State Parks over a 25-year outstanding career.
Matt began his career with Parks in 1996 as a park aide at Palomar Mountain State Park. He and his wife, Ranger Michele Green, graduated from Basic Visitor Services Training (BVST) 14 in March 1999. Over the next quarter of a century, Matt would work at parks all over the state—desert to coast to eastern sierras to gold country. Rising through the ranks to hold increasingly challenging positions in public safety and resource protection programs, he ultimately served as district superintendent and chief ranger in the Sierra District.
Matt’s prosperity with State Parks is no surprise as parks run in Matt’s blood, literally. Matt’s great-grandfather, John Green, emigrated to California from Sweden around 1880 and was a “guide” for the California Park Commission around the turn of century. John Green also served as the first caretaker for Big Basin Redwoods State Park (1901-1902) while the park was being created with the support of the Sempervirens Club.
In Matt’s time with Sierra District, he had many successes. Too many to list here but most notably, the rebuilding and reopening of the Bridgeport Covered Bridge at South Yuba River State Park (SP), development of the commercial solar plant to power Malakoff Diggins SP and the restoration of the Trains Station building at Bodie SHP.
When asked about some of the highlights during his 25-year career, Matt mentioned his boat patrols on Lake Perris with 400 vessels on the lake, seeing flocks of Wilson’s Phalarope birds fly over Mono Lake during their annual migration from Canada and Alaska to South America for the winter, and working at Bodie SHP, Grover Hot Springs SP, Mono Lake Tufa SNR and Anza-Borrego Desert SP.
As the speakers toasted Matt during his retirement luncheon, it was evident how loved and respected he is. His wife, Michele, gave an emotional tribute for all his accomplishments not only as a ranger, but also as an amazing husband and father during the adventure they embarked on together. Daughters Savannah and Sierra spoke eloquently of their dad who taught them life lessons and took the time to coach their basketball and softball teams and attend every single game, despite his demanding career.
Matt’s advice for those thinking of becoming a ranger to “Live the Parks Life” is that this is “the greatest adventure they can ever have if they make it that way.” But don’t expect Matt to sit around the house quite yet. He has a long list of adventures planned that includes visiting Yellowstone National Park and Portugal, camping and backpacking, buying a trailer, running a 10K, working on home projects and maybe some teaching.
Matt’s knowledge, experience and training will be sorely missed by the Sierra District and all of us here in the Parks family. We wish Matt peace, success and prosperity in retirement. We expect to see him often back in our district park units, enjoying himself. Congrats, Matt, on your much-deserved retirement!