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Maura Bennett Forest Service Chief Retires
by Maura Bennett, click here for bio

Program: Colorado Ag Today
Date: August 30, 2017

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The U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell is retiring and Forest Service veteran Tony Tooke will take over to lead the agency.

Just days ago, Chief Tidwell who spent much of his time focused on federal funding for wildfires, spoke with Filson about the importance of national forests and grasslands and the agency he has led since 2009.

“We are so fortunate in this country to have a group of dedicated professionals to make sure these lands are managed in a way that represent what the public wants, what they need. But, at the same time, that they are managed in a way that they are sustainable and that future generations are going to have the same mix of benefits. Especially today when 83% of Americans live in an urban setting, it’s important for us to find ways to make sure they stay connected to their lands. To really be part of the conservation legacy. That is just a key part of who we are as Americans.”

Tidwell has served as Forest Service chief since 2009. His last day in office will be September 1.

The Forest Service manages more than a fifth of Colorado’s land and those roughly 15 million acres — spread across 11 national forests and two national grasslands — are some of the busiest in the country. On the Western Slope of Colorado, where federal lands make up more than 90 percent of several rural counties’ acreage, those lands are tied to local economies and communities dependent on skiers, hunters, hikers, campers and other recreational users.

US Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue said Tooke will oversee efforts to get our forests working again, to make them more productive, and to create more jobs.

The Trump administration has not yet nominated a person to fill the undersecretary position that oversees the Forest Service.

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