Appleman retires after 35 years in USFS
Keith Appleman retired from the U.S. Forest Service last week after 35 years of service. His retirement party was held on New Year’s Eve at the Nolan Center.
In the latter part of 1977, Keith Appleman began his career with the U.S. Forest Service and worked his way through a tenure that saw him rise to the top of his field as Recreation, Lands, Wilderness and Minerals staff officer for the Wrangell Ranger District – experiencing a life as a shepherd and caretaker of the forests we call our home and playground in Southeast Alaska.
Appleman, who will turn 59 this month, retired from the Forest Service on Dec. 28. On New Year’s Eve he was joined by a sizeable gathering of family and friends at the James and Elsie Nolan Center who helped him celebrate the end of a storied career in support of our wild outdoors.
Bob Dalrymple, the Wrangell District Ranger, said Appleman left behind a string of successful endeavors in the community, and that his departure is a loss to him and the district office.
“He has left a recreation legacy for the residents and visitors who come to Wrangell,” Dalrymple said. “We already miss him.”
Forrest Cole, the Tongass National Forest Supervisor said, “Keith has been a cornerstone for the District’s Recreation program. Keith has always had a straightforward approach in advocating for the community of Wrangell and will be missed by all of us on the Tongass. We wish him well.”
One of Appleman’s high school friends, Fred Angerman Jr., spoke not about Keith’s accomplishments in nature but of something a bit more athletic from their years growing up together.
“I can tell you, as far as basketball goes, he is heck of a good player,” Angerman said. “I remember seeing him hit 59 free-throws in a row in PE class. We used to have the 20, 30, 40 and 50 Club. He made 59 and that was the record for quite a long time. His missed the 60th one. If he would have made it, he would have been the only one in that club.”
Appleman’s wife, Kathy, added that she is looking forward to excursions with Keith now that he will be around the house more often.
“I’m happy because now we’ll more chances to go to the outdoors,” she said. “He’ll be able to pack up the boat and have it ready for me when I get off work.”