U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell announced his retirement after a 40-year career, characterized by his climb from a firefighter to a District Ranger, Forest Supervisor to the head of the U.S. Forest Service, leading more than 30,000 employees working in all 50 states plus Puerto Rico.
Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue praised Chief Tidwell, saying, “From the start, we have relied on Chief Tidwell’s experience and counsel, drawing on his years of experience both in the field and in Washington. The Forest Service will miss the benefit of his knowledge but we wish him well on his retirement after more than 40 years of service with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.”
Some of his accomplishments include increasing collaboration, with the Forest Service working with states, Tribes, private landowners, and other partners for landscape-scale conservation. These efforts have helped increase the benefits Americans get from their national forests, as well as helped provide rural communities with economic stability. As chief, Tidwell also focused on building a safe and inclusive agency characterized by mutual respect and fairness. He was particularly dedicated to improving safety measures to better protect the lives and well-being of employees, especially firefighters. Moreover, he played an instrumental role early on in drawing attention and public support to confront the increasing severity and costs of wildfires and their residual impacts on the agency’s lands stewardship. Tidwell was appointed Chief of the Forest Service on June 17, 2009. His final day in office will be September 1, 2017.