PUBLISHED: 11:52 AM on Wednesday, February 1, 2006
No more forests, trees: Nestler retires after 40 years
After 40 years of working for the U.S. Forest Service, mostly in Alaska, Ken Nestler is taking a permanent vacation.

Nestler, who worked at the Alaska Regional Office in Juneau, officially retired in January.

Nestler got his start with the agency in 1966 as an administrative trainee in Delta, Colo., with the Grand Mesa and Uncompahgre National Forests.

Eleven months later, he accepted an assignment in Petersburg, Alaska, where he met his wife, Genevieve, in 1971.

He later moved to Ketchikan, and then to Juneau, where he completed his career as an "Infra" coordinator.

"Infra is a nationwide database that contains comprehensive information on national forests," he said.

"It holds information that enables leadership to better manage the forests."

Nestler also worked his share of forest fires in locations such as Tok, Big Lake and Porcupine Flats, and deployed to Louisiana for relief operations following Hurricane Katrina.

Nestler spent more than 38 years of his Forest Service career in Alaska, a location suited to his personality, he said.

"I took one of those 'what do you want to be when you grow up' tests when I was in high school," said Nestler, 64.

"It concluded that I should be a pilot in Alaska."

That test proved accurate as flying is Nestler's favorite hobby. He owns a floatplane, and is a member of the Civil Air Patrol.

Nestler was born in Oakland, Calif., but considers Southeast Alaska his home.

He holds a bachelor of science degree in business and marketing from the University of Colorado.

Nestler spends his spare time as a flight instructor and a soccer referee for the Juneau Parks and Recreation Department.

He said his wife will also retire soon, and then the couple plans to travel.

The Nestlers have three sons.