U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service Chief Dale Bosworth today announced the appointment of Joel Holtrop as deputy chief of the National Forest System. Holtrop, currently serving as deputy chief of State and Private Forestry, will replace Tom Thompson, who is retiring next month after 37 years with the service.
“As the head of State and Private Forestry, Joel has shown outstanding leadership in policy and strategic direction for our Fire and Aviation program during some of the most severe fire seasons in history as well as for the many other important State and Private Forestry programs,” said Bosworth. “That background, along with a great deal of experience gained from holding a wide variety of natural resource positions on national forests, has prepared Joel well for this new challenge.”
As leader of the National Forest System, Holtrop will be responsible for managing the following programs: ecosystem management, engineering, forest and range management, lands, minerals and geology management, recreation and heritage, wilderness resources, and watershed, fish, wildlife, air, and rare plants. Some of the top issues he will supervise include implementation of the new forest planning rule, developing a new rule to manage inventoried roadless areas, and finalizing a new rule to manage off-highway vehicle use.
“I am honored and pleased to accept this position and am looking forward to taking on the responsibilities associated with the leadership of the National Forest System. In addition, I am anxious to build on the personal and professional relationships that I have developed with state foresters and tribal leaders around the country,” said Holtrop. “However, for me, the move is bittersweet because the staffs of the state and private forestry organization have been so outstanding to work with on a daily basis.”
Holtrop began his career with the Forest Service on the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest in Washington conducting timber inventory. He then joined the Eldorado National Forest in California working in timber sale preparation. He moved to Oregon’s Mt. Hood National Forest as an assistant district ranger and then to Michigan’s Hiawatha National Forest as a district ranger. Holtrop then became deputy supervisor on the Nicolet National Forest in Wisconsin, followed by forest supervisor on the Flathead National Forest in Montana. He joined the national headquarters in 1996 as deputy director of Range Management, moving on to director of Watershed, Fish, Wildlife, Air and Rare Plants. He has served as deputy chief of State and Private Forestry since January of 2002.
Holtrop holds a bachelor’s in forestry from Michigan State University, and a master’s in forest management and public administration from the University of Washington. He is a member of the federal government’s senior executive service.
Holtrop will assume his new duties on Mar. 6.