Last week, Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue appointed Tony Tooke, a career U.S. Forest Service employee since the age of 18, to lead the organization as its chief. Susan Jane Brown, wildlands and wildlife program director for the Western Environmental Law Center, issued the following statement in response to the appointment:

“I have worked with new U.S. Forest Service Chief Tooke for years on a wide variety issues, and got to know Tony well in his role as Designated Federal Official for the National Advisory Committee for the Forest Service’s 2012 Planning Rule, on which I serve. I was impressed then with Chief Tooke’s ability to listen to diverse voices and bring them together for collective action, and have since watched him continue to put that approach into action as an extremely effective Regional Forester. Through it all, Tony has proven himself a leader of constructive collaborative conservation and a knowledgeable forest manager.

“Today, our national forests face a number of challenges, from climate change and altered fire regimes, to increasing recreational pressures and the need to connect youth and underserved populations to nature. Chief Tooke represents the best the Forest Service has to offer, he is well equipped to confront these and other challenges, and I’m confident he will succeed in charting an enduring conservation legacy. I look forward to working with Chief Tooke, and express my sincerest congratulations on his new position.

“I also would like to thank outgoing Chief Thomas Tidwell for his stewardship of America’s forest legacy. Under his leadership, the Forest Service adopted an innovative, science-based planning rule, developed and fostered partnerships critical to delivering goods and services from our national forests, and supported agency employees at all levels of leadership. Chief Tidwell will be missed, but his mark on the Forest Service will endure.”


Susan Jane Brown, Western Environmental Law Center, 503-914-1323,

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