Gail Kimbell out; Tom Tidwell in as new Forest Service Chief

Appointment of new Forest Service Chief is always important to conservationists-

The Forest Service Chief is appointed and does not have to be ratified by the U.S. Senate, yet he or she exercises great power over the National Forest System.

When Bush appointed Kimbell, there was a lot of complaint from the environmental community.

Tom Tidwell is currently the regional forester of the USFS Northern Region (Montana and Northern Idaho).  He makes the third in a row to move from that office to Chief. Some thought that Harv Forsgren,  Regional Forest for the Intermountain Region, was in line for the job.

Initial reaction as reported by the Associated Press seems favorable.

Career forester named US Forest Service chief. By Matthew Daly. Associated Press.

Below is the USDA news release:

Release No. 0214.09
Justin DeJong (202) 720-462


Tom Tidwell brings 32 Years of Experience Working to Protect Our Nation’s Forests

WASHINGTON, June 17, 2009 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced
that Tom Tidwell will serve as the new Chief for the U.S. Forest Service.

“Tom Tidwell’s 32 years of experience in our forests and impressive track record of
collaboration and problem-solving will help us tackle the great challenges ahead,” said

Tidwell has spent 32 years with the Forest Service in a variety of positions. He began his
Forest Service career on the Boise National Forest, and has since worked in eight different
national forests, across three regions. He has worked at all levels of the agency in a variety of
positions, including District Ranger, Forest Supervisor, and Legislative Affairs Specialist in
the Washington Office.

Tidwell’s field experience includes working from the rural areas of Nevada and Idaho all
the way to the urban forests in California and the Wasatch-Cache National Forest in Utah,
where he served as Forest Supervisor during the 2002 Winter Olympics. He also has extensive
fire experience, beginning as a firefighter, and accumulating nineteen years as an agency
administrator responsible for fire suppression decisions.

“We thank Gail Kimbell for her leadership and deep commitment to protecting our
nation’s forests,” Vilsack added.



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Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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Ralph Maughan