Saratoga County man retires after 60 years of state environmental jobs

A Saratoga County man retired from the state Friday after 60 years of service. Gary Hill says he loved every minute of it.

Hill was the longest-tenured employee in the state, serving six decades as a steward of the environment. His colleagues say he’s irreplaceable.

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As a DEC wildlife technician for more than 30 years, Hill saw it all. He’d trap and relocate foxes, beavers, otters and bears. He played a pivotal in bringing bald eagles back to the Hudson River.

When he retired from that position in 1995, he only stayed retired for two weeks. State Parks was so impressed with his knowledge of nature and wildlife, they invited him to be a park naturalist at Moreau Lake State Park. The park built its thriving nature and education center around him. He’d also lead public nature hikes, groom snowmobile trails and teach kayaking. In fact, he just led a trip last week.

He still hunts, cross-country skis and downhill skis.

Hill was born to be outdoors. Raised in Eagle Bridge, he would trap animals before school and sell their furs to have money for Christmas presents. He has some advice for those who are toiling away at jobs they don’t like.

"If they’re not happy [with] what they’re doing, I think they should change jobs a little bit, get out there, get outside, get in the fresh air, get healthy, do some hiking, get up in the mountains, enjoy life a little bit, and that’ll take their mind off a lot of their problems," said Hill.

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An outdoor retirement party was held for Hill on Friday evening.

Hear from the colleagues who revere him by watching the video of Mark Mulholland’s story.