17 Jun 2009, 2:04pm
Uncategorized
by admin

Tidwell Named New USFS Chief

Breaking news. Gail Kimbell out, Tom Tidwell in as Chief of the US Forest Service

USDA News Release No. 0214.09 [here]

AGRICULTURE SECRETARY VILSACK NAMES NEW CHIEF FOR U.S. FOREST SERVICE

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

WASHINGTON, June 17, 2023 - 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 Vilsack.

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.

Most recently Tidwell served as Regional Forester for the Northern Region. His background in fire is extensive. Tidwell will become the third Chief in a row to come out of the Northern Region (following Gail Kimbell and Dale Bosworth).

18 Jun 2009, 9:42am
by John M.


We have to wish Tom success in the position of Chief, but also be aware the Chief of the Forest Service no longer has the independence of setting agency policy or direction. In today’s political world the Chief has to respond to the direction from political bosses, Congressional staffers and their lobbyist cronies on the Hill. Even in other federal agencies there are people with the ability to pull the Chief and the agency up short. An example is the OMB examiner who is rumored to have given the agency fits in the last Administration by manipulating the FS fire budget to force the FS to use operational money to fight fire. This issue, incidentally, is still not completely resolved.

A large part of the management problem for the FS, in my opinion, is a lack of clear direction for the management of the national forests. Part of the confusion is the result of 30 years of successful public relations and lobbying by groups convinced that the legislated mission of the national forests to provide sustained renewable natural resources is wrong. They have successfully convinced many people, including political leaders, that these public forests should be left to “nature’s” whims.

Until there is an understanding by the majority of citizens of the US that these lands are critical to our basic survival and must be cared for, the FS and its leadership, no matter how skilled, will continue to be used for political and ideological punching bags.

18 Jun 2009, 10:03am
by Mike


Agreed. I do wish Tom Tidwell every success against difficult odds. I also wished Gail Kimbell every success, but she blew her opportunities. And I do not think it was outside lobbying — she undermined herself in numerous ways.

18 Jun 2009, 11:11am
by Larry H.


I fear that the Democrat Mark Rey replacement will play be a sock-puppet to preservationists’ idealistic dogma drama.

Oh Mighty Gaia… please save us from your followers!!!

Mr. Tidwell needs to bring the science we know to be right to the table to prove that the preservationists are dead wrong, heavy on the dead!

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