U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Honors Former Employee

June 2008

Beth Madden, Shannon Swanson's wife, kneels by the rock and plaque which officially name Swanson Lake.
Beth is a biologist on the Medicine Lake NWR.

On June 9, the Medicine Lake National Wildlife Refuge in eastern Montana hosted the dedication of Swanson Lake in memory of long time U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service firefighter Shannon Swanson. Shannon spent several years working on the refuge during which time the lake, which will be named after him, became one of his favorite spots. An avid fisherman and hunter, Shannon spent many hours along the shores of the water. 

Shannon began his career as a firefighter on the Devil’s Lake National Wildlife Refuge. He was involved in helping to develop many aspects of the Fire Management Program for the Service throughout its Mountain-Prairie Region which encompasses portions of the Great Plains, the Rocky Mountains, and the Continental Divide. He became the first person to hold the prescribed fire specialist position on the Medicine Lake National Wildlife Refuge, building a professional and effective program of burning. He was also instrumental in the creation of the North Dakota Dispatch Center. The center was the first state level dispatch center sponsored by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in the nation.

Many former Service colleagues and friends joined Shannon’s family, wife Beth, and the Medicine Lake NWR staff at the dedication ceremony. They honored his memory and recognize his love of life and nature by dedicating a plaque to officially name Swanson Lake. The presentation of the plaque was made by Brian McManus, Chief of Fire Management for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service who supervised Shannon for three years in North Dakota. The plaque is a gift to the refuge from the Service’s national fire office located in Boise, Idaho.

Ducks Unlimited hosted a barbeque following the ceremony.

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