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Contact: Tom Blount, 423-569-9778
Steve Bakaletz, long time Wildlife Biologist at the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area (NRRA) and Obed Wild and Scenic River (WSR), will be retiring at the end of December 2014. Steve received a bachelor's degree in wildlife biology and a master's degree in wildlife management from Tennessee Technological University and has 27 years of federal service with most of his time spent at the Big South Fork. He has been involved in a wide range of resource management activities during his career including oil, gas, and coal mining reviews; water resource issues; endangered species restoration; and, most recently, black bears. Steve's efforts to protect the expanding black bear population and keep bears from associating food with humans have resulted in minimal bear problems in the park and provided opportunities for visitors to see wild bears in their natural habitat.
"Steve has had a critical role in protecting Big South Fork's wildlife as the park has developed and as visitation has increased. His strong commitment to resource stewardship will be missed," said Niki Stephanie Nicholas, Superintendent of Big South Fork NRRA and Obed WSR.
Steve lives with his wife and children in Norris,Tennessee.