Bridger-Teton National Forest chief out the door
By Mike Koshmrl, Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Date: February 16, 2013
The supervisor of the Bridger-Teton National Forest will soon be stepping down from her position.
Jacque Buchanan, the Bridger-Teton supervisor since June 2010, sent out an email Friday to the national forest’s staff alerting them of her departure. Buchanan accepted a job as the director of renewable resources at the U.S. Forest Service’s Rocky Mountain Region office in Golden, Colo.
“I was waiting for the job that would work for me both personally and professionally,” Buchanan said. “It’s a next level up.”
Rocky Mountain regional spokesman Chris Strebig said Buchanan’s new role would be broad in scope.
“We’re looking forward to having someone of her caliber direct such a large program,” Strebig said.
Buchanan will start her new job on March 25, a Monday. She said she will be working at the Bridger-Teton until the Friday before.
Over her nearly three-year tenure in Jackson, Buchanan was in charge of a forest in flux. She was on watch as a historic fire scorched thousands of acres last fall. Before his own departure, a regional administrator recommended combining the Bridger-Teton with the Caribou-Targhee National Forest. At the end of 2012, a conservation group scraped together $8.75 million to preserve the Noble Basin.
In her new role, Buchanan will be in charge of “vegetation management, forestry, biomass and other types of forest products,” Strebig said, “as well as wildlife, range activities and aquatics.”
At the regional level, there are a handful of director-level positions in the Forest Service hierarchy. On the managerial totem pole, directors are below only the regional forester and deputy regional forester.
The Forest Service’s Rocky Mountain region, headquartered in Denver, encompasses Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota and most of Wyoming. The Bridger-Teton is the only national forest in the state not included.
“I turned down jobs in Albuquerque [N.M.], Ogden [Utah] and D.C.,” Buchanan said. “This is one that still keeps one foot in Wyoming.”
Just this week, Buchanan announced a proposal to split the Bridger-Teton headquarters’ office operations between the current office in Jackson and a new office in Alpine.
“It is my proposal,” she told the Jackson Hole News&Guide on Tuesday. “I’m actually very excited about it. It gives the Forest Service flexibility, it gives employees flexibility and is not a mass exodus out of Jackson.”
Buchanan said she expects the status of that proposal to be unaffected by her departure.
“I believe that proposal is the correct proposal, whether I was staying or going,” she said. “I feel like the regional office is very comfortable with the proposal. They were very supportive of it. They’re still fine tuning.”
The proposal will be reviewed by Tom Tidwell, the chief of the U.S. Forest Service, within the next weeks, Buchanan said.
Intermountain regional spokeswoman Erin O’Connor said it’s not yet determined who will be the acting forest supervisor until Buchanan’s replacement is named.
“I haven’t had a conversation with the regional forester to know what’s on her mind about filling the job,” O’Connor said.