Vilsack names Moore as new US Forest Service chief

By Erin Voegele | June 29, 2021

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on June 28 named Randy Moore as the new U.S. Forest Service chief. Moore will replace current Forest Service Chief Vicki Christiansen, who is scheduled to retire on July 26.

Moore has been serving as regional forester in the Pacific Southwest Region in California since 2007. He also oversees state and private forestry programs in Hawaii and the U.S. affiliated Pacific Islands. He previously served as the regional forester for the Eastern Region headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, for five years.

“Randy Moore has been a catalyst for change and creativity in carrying out the Forest Service’s mission to sustain the health, diversity and productivity of the nation's forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations,” Vilsack said. “In his role as regional forester, Randy has been a conservation leader on the forefront of climate change, most notably leading the Region’s response to the dramatic increase in catastrophic wildfires in California over the last decade. His proven track record of supporting and developing employees and putting communities at the center of the Forest Service’s work positions him well to lead the agency into the future at this critical time in our country.”

Christiansen announced her planned retirement on June 8 following a 40-year career as a professional forester, wildland firefighter, and land manger. She has served at the Forest Service for 11 years.

“It has truly been a privilege and an honor to serve as the Chief of the Forest Service,” Christiansen said in a statement released June 8. "The time has come for me to spend more time with my family, my mom, my children, and my grandchildren. Most of my family lives a continent away, and I owe it to them to be closer so we can spend more time together. That is why I have chosen to retire.”

“I am confident that the Forest Service is on the right track, with the right priorities for the future: beating the pandemic; providing economic relief; tackling climate change; creating racial equity, and improving our workforce and our work environment in the spirit of changing our culture to become who we truly aspire to be,” she continued. “I have been working with Secretary Vilsack to plan for this transition and I will continue to do so in order to assure a smooth leadership transition for this agency and mission that is so important to me and so many others."

Christiansen will officially step down from her role on July 26. She and Moore will continue to collaborate on an intentional leadership transition until that time.