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Gail Kimbell Appointed As 1st Woman To Head US Forest Service January 12, 2007

Posted by notapundit in US News.

WASHINGTON (AP)–Montana forester Gail Kimbell on Friday became the first woman to head the U.S. Forest Service, succeeding retiring chief Dale Bosworth.

Kimbell, who supervises national forests through northern Idaho, Montana and the Dakotas, was appointed to the position by Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns, agency officials said Friday.

She becomes the Forest Service’s 16th chief. Bosworth, a career forester who became chief in April 2001, will step down within a few weeks.

After growing up in California, Bosworth joined the agency as a forester in 1966 and climbed the ranks through a series of jobs in Washington state, Utah and Montana.

As chief, he was a key player in President George W. Bush’s program to increase timber sales and auction off oil and gas leases in roadless areas of national forests. The Clinton administration had put that land off-limits to commercial development.

Among the most controversial decisions has been the Bush administration’s promotion of logging in Alaska’s Tongass National Forest, the nation’s largest. Some of the areas the Clinton administration had tried to protect have trails and roads, but many are considered pristine havens for wildlife and waterways or are prized for their scenery and recreation.

“It’s my belief that most users want to do the right thing,” Bosworth said in 2005 about his agency’s plans to encourage off-road enthusiasts to use the forests in an environmentally friendly way.

In October, a government study blamed the administration, not lawsuits by environmentalists, for adding to the costs of logging to salvage timber from an Oregon wildfire. The administration and Republican allies had contended that lawsuits filed by environmentalists led to the increased costs.


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