‘An amazing asset to Cedar City and to Southern Utah’: Dixie National Forest opens new headquarters

CEDAR CITY — U.S. Forest Service officials cut the ribbon on the Dixie National Forest’s new headquarters building Tuesday.

Ribbon-cutting event for the new Dixie National Forest headquarters building at 820 N. Main, Cedar City, Utah, May 4, 2021 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

“We want this building to represent an amazing asset to Cedar City and to Southern Utah,” said Dixie National Forest Supervisor Kevin Wright as he welcomed the crowd of approximately 50 people gathered for the event, including civic leaders and elected officials.

The new 15,800-square foot facility, located at 820 N. Main St., will house 81 full-time employees and another 35 or so seasonal employees, said Chris Campbell, the regional office’s engineering director.

Campbell said the federally funded project will save on operational and leasing costs, since the Forest Service owned the property already.

The new building is designed to be energy efficient, reduce water consumption and improve air quality, Campbell said, adding that the increased number of exterior windows will allow for more natural lighting. Waterwise xeriscape landscaping surrounds the building, he added.

Additionally, officials noted that the new location is in a much more publicly accessible location than the Dixie Forest’s current home on 1789 N. Wedgewood Lane.

“I love the thought that it’s right on Main Street. It’s easier to find than our current one,” said Veronica Magnuson, district ranger for the Cedar City Ranger District.

Magnuson said she had been pitching the idea of moving to a more visible location for the past decade. She credited former Dixie National Forest Supervisor Angie Bulletts, who now works in Las Vegas as a district manager for the Bureau of Land Management, with helping make the idea a reality.

Smokey Bear greets attendees at ribbon-cutting event for the new Dixie National Forest headquarters building at 820 N. Main, Cedar City, Utah, May 4, 2021 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

“She produced the miracle. She got the region to agree to let us build a building,” Magnuson said of Bulletts, who also was in attendance on Tuesday.

Construction on the building started in November 2019. Although it is essentially completed inside and out, it still lacks furniture, cubicles and a few other finishing touches, Wright said, adding that it will likely be another few weeks before the transition is fully complete.

Nevertheless, the new building is expected to be open to the public starting May 10, he said.

The front lobby will include a retail gift shop operated by the Bryce Canyon Natural History Association.

Wright called the Dixie National Forest a “pretty special place,” noting that the forest comprises nearly 2 million acres, stretching from the Pine Valley mountains north of St. George all the way to Boulder Mountain near Capitol Reef. Adjacent to five national parks and monuments, Dixie National Forest offers a wide variety of recreational opportunities to its nearly 1 million annual visitors, he added.

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Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

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