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Williams News | Williams, Arizona

home : features : features November 24, 2015

4/9/2013 11:23:00 AM
Slice of life: Margaret Hangan
The News talks with the Kaibab heritage and tribal relations program manager about her typical day
Margaret Hangan, Kaibab heritage and tribal relations program manager, looks through archaeological artifacts in her office. Ryan Williams/WGCN
Margaret Hangan, Kaibab heritage and tribal relations program manager, looks through archaeological artifacts in her office. Ryan Williams/WGCN
Williams-Grand Canyon News

How many years have you lived in Williams?

I have lived in Williams about five and a half years.

How long have you worked with the Forest Service?

I'm probably working on close to nine.

How did you get started with the Forest Service?

I worked for the Bureau of Land Management as an archaeologist in the Mohave Desert area and spent about five or six years in the desert. A position opened up in San Diego with the Cleveland National Forest...and I was there for about three years. Then they had a position open here and I put in and they were nice enough to pick me up. So here I am.

What is a typical day like for you?

There is no typical day. Every day is different. What I do here for the Forest Service is help make sure the forest manages the cultural resources of the forest. So if it's related to human beings and it's over 50 years old, it's considered to be an archaeological resource. And so my job is to help the forest manage those archaeological resources. We have recorded about 10,000 archaeological sites here, and we've only really looked at about 40 percent of the forest. So my day is literally around working on projects, helping finalize reports, I coordinate with the Arizona State Historic Preservation Office, they help to oversee the legal requirements, we do a lot of coordination with the tribes. We also work on fire, most of us have second jobs on fires. Right now we're not in fire season but if we were in fire season we'd be either working fires here on this forest or I also go out and work as a public information officer so I work with a lot of media. Frankly, we could have a fire tomorrow and I could be called out the door. When you walk in the door every day you never know what you're going to find, because it changes daily.

What is the best part of your job?

There are two great things about my job. One is that I can actually get outdoors and go actually see the landscape. I really believe that you can't manage what you don't go see. The other best part is working with young people. We do a lot of environmental education programs, and I love working with young people. And then also working with the tribes is really a lot of fun, they're just really great folks. They're always teaching us all sorts of new things about this landscape.

What is your most memorable experience on the job?

Probably one of my most memorable was the Twin Fire a couple of years ago. When we realized it went into a wild fire, I got called in to help with the public information officer down here in the Williams District. And this fire was heading for the district office. And so all the fire engines and everybody pulled back to the office to basically do a bunch of protections around the office. We were in the office, and the office was full of smoke. And we were working in that smoke trying to field people's calls because a lot of people were worried. So we were taking calls from all over about the fire, and we were there until midnight. And frankly, when I went home that night, I wasn't sure that I'd actually be going back to the office to work the next morning. That was a scary time, but it all turned out.

What are some major issues the forest service is dealing with right now?

Fire, that's probably one of the top issues that we deal with is fire and forest restoration. You're probably aware of the Four Forest Restoration Initiative, which the Kaibab is a part of that.

Tell me about your project with the Williams Library.

Andrea Dunn, the librarian, and I have been working on a historic photo project. So we have been scanning in historic photos from the community. So these are not only photos that the library has and we have here, but we are also getting people in the community to bring in their family photos of the community. To date we have scanned in a little over 1,700 photos. We are in the process and hoping to finish that this weekend. We have scanned in and transferred up about 150 photos onto the Arizona Memory Project, which is that web-based database of historic information about Arizona that's maintained by the Arizona State Archives.

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