North Carolina Division of Forest Resources of the Department of Environment, Health, & Natural Resources
In 1921, The North Carolina General Assembly authorized counties to cooperate financially with the State in forest fire control. It was, however, not until 1928 that matching state and federal funds became sufficient to finance fire protection on a large scale. In 1921, there were 4 cooperating counties in the state. By 1932, the number had climbed to 44, and by 1958, 89 of the 100 counties were able to participate. Today the North Carolina Division of Forest Resources of the Department of Environment, Health, and Natural Resources operates in all 100 counties of the state.
In 1949, Rowan County entered into a cooperative agreement with the state. The first County Forester, John C. Baskerville, started work on 1 August 1949. His job was to handle forest fires, advise and assist landowners in tree planting, thinning, diseases and insects, and to carry out an educational program for the schools and other organizations in both Rowan and Iredell Counties.
Fire Lookout Towers
In the Spring of 1952, a fire lookout tower was built on Dunn's Mountain. It consisted of a platform built between two trees with another tree cut and used for the third leg. Later on, windows and a roof were added. In September 1954, a 48 foot wooden tower was built on Young's Mountain. In 1955, the 73 foot High Rock Lookout Tower was built at Healing Springs in Davidson County. This tower covers the eastern half of Rowan County. In 1957, the tree tower on Dunn's Mountain was replaced by a steel tower. Young's Mountain Tower was removed in June of 1968; and Dunn's Mountain in 1971.
From 1951 to 1960, there were 4 foresters who held the position of Rowan-Iredell Forester: M. N. Shaw, Jr., John D. Hill, R. G. Carney, and Ronald A. Brown. In 1955, the office was moved to Statesville for a brief period of time. On 14 November 1960, the first full-time Rowan County Forester, Charles D. Woodard, Jr. was hired.
Rowan County was a training ground for new foresters before they moved on to other positions. From 1961 to 1971 7 more foresters held the position: Lloyd B. Snider, Dale A. Sutton, John U. Perry, Obie R. Willingham, Robert C. Felton, Ed Goforth, and William T. Crain. Most of them stayed in the county for only 1 year. In 1971, the position was changed from County Forester to County Forest Ranger. On 1 July 1971, L. Wayne Alexander became the first Rowan County Forest Ranger.
January 1980 Rodney J. Kreiser became Assistant County Forest Ranger. Upon Wayne Alexander's retirement in March 2003 Rodney Kreiser was promoted to Rowan County Forest Ranger.
August 2003 Cheryl A. Mecimore became Assistant County Forest Ranger for Rowan County. Cheryl resigned in 2006 and was replaced by David K. Poole on May 30, 2006 as Assistant County Forest Ranger. David was born and raised in Troy, NC in Montgomery County. David graduated from Montgomery Community College in the spring of 2005 and was employed with the NC Forest Service in Mecklenburg County in August 2005 where he worked until accepting the position in Rowan County in May 2006.
September 2009 Rodney J. Kreiser retired after nearly 30 years of service to the citizens of Rowan County. Assistant Ranger David K. Poole was promoted to County Forest Ranger.
January 2010 Jason Walker became Assistant County Forest Ranger for Rowan County.