Statement of Chris Wood, Chief Operating Officer: Trout Unlimited welcomes Tom Tidwell to the position of Chief of the U.S. Forest Service. Tidwell faces a variety of challenges as he assumes the leadership of one of the nation’s top land-management agencies, but he possesses the skills to lead the respected agency into a new era of conservation and stewardship.
Tom has proven his conservation mettle time and time again during his distinguished, 30-plus-year career in the U.S. Forest Service, where he started in Idaho as a firefighter and moved steadily up the ranks, accepting more responsibility and demonstrating exemplary leadership along the way. Key among his accomplishments with the Forest Service was his leadership in helping to negotiate the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self Determination Act of 2000. Additionally, he helped bring disparate interests together in support of the 2008 Idaho Roadless Rule—an outstanding example of collaborative stewardship.
As a career Forest Service employee, Tom understands the culture and traditions of the remarkable agency, but he recognizes that the future of the Forest Service lies in its ability to bring people together to work toward common solutions to common problems for the common good. Tom understands that conservation by definition is optimistic and forward-looking. Trout Unlimited looks forward to working with him to articulate a forceful and affirmative vision for the agency.
Retiring Chief Gail Kimball deserves much credit for making climate change a priority for the Forest Service. Tom possesses the skill and vision to build on that solid foundation by constructing a thoughtful and proactive policy framework that positions the Forest Service as a leader in helping people, as well as fish and wildlife, adapt to the effects of a changing climate.
Trout Unlimited is the nation’s oldest and largest coldwater fisheries conservation organization. It has over 140,000 members dedicated to conserving, protecting and restoring North America’s trout and salmon fisheries and their watersheds.