Chief Christiansen Announces Retirement

Thanks to Chief Christiansen for all her work throughout her career!

Chief’s Retirement
Later today, USDA Forest Service Chief Vicki Christiansen will announce her retirement after a 40-year career as a professional forester, wildland firefighter and land manager including 11 years of service at the Forest Service.
Secretary Vilsack plans to announce the next Chief later this month as well as a timeframe for a thoughtful transition. During that transition, Chief Christiansen looks forward to demonstrating one of the Forest Service core values of interdependence in handing off leadership to a new Chief.
WASHINGTON, June 8, 2021 – USDA Forest Service Chief Vicki Christiansen today announced her retirement after a 40-year career as a professional forester, wildland firefighter, and land manager including 11 years of service at the Forest Service.
Chief Christiansen brought her experience and passion for connecting people to their natural resources to her tenure as head of the Forest Service, leading more than 30,000 employees working in all 50 states and Puerto Rico.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack issued this statement:
“Chief Christiansen’s contributions to the USDA Forest Service cannot be overstated. In her more than three years as Chief, she has provided steady, thoughtful leadership through multiple challenges, including increasingly challenging fire and hurricane seasons, strains on agency budgets and workforce, and the COVID-19 pandemic.”
“Through it all, she has led with empathy, integrity and professionalism, advancing the agency’s work on shared stewardship, climate change, and partnerships while supporting record visitation and improving agency culture around safety and an inclusive work environment.”
“Chief Christiansen’s leadership has been informed by her 40 years of experience in natural resources and wildland fire management, including previously serving as the Forest Service’s Deputy Chief for State and Private Forestry and Deputy Director for Fire and Aviation Management, the Arizona State Forester, the Washington State Forester, and for 26 years in the Washington State Department of Natural Resources.”
“While Chief Christiansen’s decision to retire will leave big boots to fill, I will work closely with the Chief and the Forest Service leadership team in the weeks ahead to support a thoughtful transition. I join many others in offering my heartfelt thanks to Vicki for her service and best wishes for a happy and fulfilling retirement.”
Christiansen stepped into the role of Chief of the Forest Service on March 8, 2018. During Christiansen’s leadership tenure, the agency relied on its strong science, innovation, and partnerships to overcome profound challenges and find new solutions to serve the public. From leading the development of new interagency safety protocols that enabled fire response during a global pandemic to bolstering relationships with partners, states and tribes to improve forest health and combat the effects of climate change, Christiansen led with community in mind.
Her focus on creating a safe, respectful and high-performing work environment led to a cultural transformation at the Forest Service and significant gains in employee morale.
Forest Service accomplishments under Christiansen’s leadership include year after year of historic timber production and millions of acres treated to reduce hazardous fuels and improve forest resilience to fire. The Forest Service also recently completed a suite of regulatory reforms to modernize and align itself to new legislative authorities that reduce regulatory burdens and expedite critical forest management work. And today, thanks to Christiansen’s collaborative approach, 50 states and territories are involved in Shared Stewardship agreements to ensure the right work gets done in the right place at the right time.

And let’s not forget the time-honored activity of “new Chief prediction and rumors.” Here we go again…

6 thoughts on “Chief Christiansen Announces Retirement”

  1. And yet, the Forest Service is still dependent on Temporary Employees for mission-critical tasks. My guess is that they will have even more trouble filling positions with experienced people. The trouble is that no one seems to care about the skills of new Temporary Employees. This problem has existed for decades, with little action to remedy the situation. Other industries are willing to do more to get good people back to work. The Forest Service has no answer to the ongoing employee shortage.

  2. My assessment of her “selfie video” is that she has been asked to leave. Will USDA stick with career Chief or go political? Will they pick someone who stood up to Perdue and fought for FS? Maybe VC did, but if so, it never went public (and didn’t seem to help). I’m anxious to see the FS and Chief do something BIG in coming years. I’m not going to name names as potential successors, but it doesn’t appear that FS leadership is bristling with visionaries.

    • Jim :

      I once communicated with a “James R. Furnish” who was, at the time the “Deputy Chief, National Forest System.” Was that you? – Tim Bolen

  3. How about the cynical sarcastic, but somewhat humorous, conservative view?

    Why doesn’t someone just call Alexandria Ocasio Cortez’s office and ask who it is that she wants to head the “Green New Deal” Forest? It would have to be somebody who would be willing to bulldoze thousands of miles of chapparal and trees so as to:

    (1) ready those areas for “Made in China” solar panels to connect directly to those new Interstate Charging Points for all those new electric vehicles..

    (2) chop down those crappy trees in the high mountain passes so they can be used for those electric generating windmills and passage for the new “bullet trains.”

    (3) Generally close down the forests to the “pesky” public. After all, shouldn’t the forests be restricted to the green polyester suited professionals wearing their cute boots from REI?

    (4) On the Left Coast they could barb-wire off the forests and convert them to homeless shelters, so as to get “the unwashed” off of San Francisco, Los Angeles, Portland and Seattle’s UTOPIAN streets. So what if they ate all the chipmunks, and froze to death in the winter? We need to be “progressive…”, right?

    Of course they could just appoint Anthony Fauci, right? That way we could get a different strategy every fifteen minutes.


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