Tooke sworn in as chief of the U.S. Forest Service

By Erin Voegele | September 05, 2017

Tony Tooke was sworn in as chief of the U.S. Forest Service by Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue on Sept. 1. Tooke, who became the 18th chief of the Forest Service, has worked for the Forest Service for 37 years, since age 18. He most recently served as regional forester for the southern region. Tooke replaced former Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell, who announced his retirement in August. 

“Tony Tooke is truly a home-grown chief, having worked his entire adult life for the Forest Service, and he comes on board at a time of great opportunity to reform our approach to forest management,” Perdue said. “He will oversee efforts to get our forests working again, to make them more productive, and to create more jobs. Additionally, wildfires have been aggressive this season, and it is frustrating to see that a greater and greater percentage—now 55 percent—of our Forest Service budget is spent on fire suppression. This diminishes our efforts to mitigate disasters in advance. I am committed to finding a permanent solution to this budget imbalance, and Tony’s leadership will be key to accomplishing that goal.”

“I am deeply humbled to have been asked to serve as chief of the U.S. Forest Service,” Tooke said. “I have tremendous respect for our history and those who have served before me—their leadership has inspired my own. I admire our on-the-ground work and our dedicated workforce, at every level of the agency, that make it possible. Together with our many partners, volunteers, and local and state leaders, we have much to accomplish to fulfill our continuing conservation mission and serve people and communities everywhere.”