Tidwell to retire, Tooke named as new Forest Service chief

By Erin Voegele | August 21, 2017

U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell has announced his retirement, effective Sept. 1. He has served at the post since June 2009. U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced Tony Tooke will take over as chief following Tidwell’s retirement.

Tooke has worked for the Forest Service since age 18, currently as regional forester for the Southern Region. He also previously served as associate deputy chief for the National Forest System with oversight of Lands and Realty, Minerals and Geology, Ecosystem Management Coordination, Wilderness and Wild and Scenic Rivers, the National Partnership Office, and Business Administration and Support Services.

“The Forest Service will be in good hands with the U.S. Forest Service’s own Tony Tooke whose knowledge of forestry is unmatched,” Perdue said. “Tony has been preparing for this role for his whole professional life, and at a time when we face active and growing fires, his transition into leadership will be seamless.  He will oversee efforts to get our forests working again, to make them more productive, and to create more jobs. His focus will be on ensuring we are good neighbors and are managing our forests effectively, efficiently, and responsibly, as well as working with states and local governments to ensure the utmost collaboration. No doubt, the stewardship of our forests is an awesome and sacred responsibility, and no one knows that better than Tony who has dedicated his career to this noble cause.”

Tidwell announced his retirement following a 40-year career, during which he climbed from firefighter to a district ranger, forest supervisor to the head of the U.S. Forest Service.

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.”