In Memoriam: Darren Coffey
B.S. in Biology 2004

Darren Coffey, a CSUSB Biology graduate, was tragically struck down in an avalanche in our local mountains on Friday, January 25, 2008. Below is a note about Darren from Gabe Garcia at the U.S. Forest Service where Darren was employed. I have also included some photos of Darren that were posted on the internet. We are proud to call Darren one of our own and he will be missed by many of us in the Biology Department.

John Skillman

To the family, friends and co-workers of Darren Coffey
Jan 26, 08, 06:01:58 PM

The Front Country Ranger District and the San Bernardino National Forest is deeply saddened to report today that our employee, Darren Coffey, passed away early this morning. Darren was back-country skiing with two friends near the Mountain High Resort, when an avalanche struck at about 1:30 p.m. trapping them beneath the snow. His two companions were able to surface on their own, while search and rescue efforts for Darren continued throughout the day. Darren was located at about 9:00 p.m., with vital signs, and was airlifted to the hospital. His passing was confirmed early this morning.

Darren, age 32, worked as a wildlife biologist on the Front Country District since September 2004, and worked previously as an intern on the Mountaintop District.

Although a wildlife biologist, Darren aspired to be a district botanist and took on many of the district’s botany projects including growing plants in the native plants nursery at Lytle Creek. He was involved in the big horn sheep project and he also worked closely with law enforcement and Mountaintop District employees in helping to close illegal OHV trails. Darren also worked on fire suppression rehabilitations, most recently contributing significantly to the Slide and Grass Valley teams.

Darren really cared about the forest and the work he was doing. He worked well with everyone and always tried to help people. He also cared a great deal for his community, and volunteered time to work with urban youth programs on the forest in partnership with the San Bernardino National Forest Association and the Bobby G. Vega Foundation.

Darren enjoyed being outside around plants and wildlife. He was an expert skier, and enjoyed backpacking and hiking. Darren lived in Wrightwood, where he had many close friends and family in the nearby area.

Darren positively affected so many people, and he will be greatly missed by all. Please keep his family and many friends in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.

Gabe Garcia
Front Country District Ranger
San Bernardino National Forest