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WRNF hires acting super

GLENWOOD SPRINGS – A Wisconsin woman named acting supervisor of the White River National Forest is looking forward to more than escaping her home state’s humidity during the next few months.Laurie Tippin is relishing the challenge of running a forest far different from the one she works on currently. And she will use the opportunity to size up whether to apply to become the next White River forest supervisor, a position that is currently vacant.”At this point I wouldn’t want to make a firm commitment,” Tippin said.She said she has just arrived in her new job, and isn’t familiar with the Forest Service’s Rocky Mountain Region.Her temporary assignment will allow her to get to know the issues and the landscape of the White River National Forest, and weigh her options from there.”I’m not ruling out applying for this job at all,” Tippin said.She added that she doesn’t think taking the acting position would give her an edge over other candidates if she did apply.However, Tippin said a forest supervisor position would be the next logical step in her career. She’s currently deputy supervisor on the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest in northern Wisconsin.She’s a native of Sacramento, Calif., and began her 25-year Forest Service career in that state. Nearly 10 years ago she transferred to the Boise National Forest, where she managed reforestation projects and timber sales and worked to improve overall forest health.She also worked for two years in Washington, D.C., providing national oversight of local Forest Service offices in creating forest stewardship programs. These programs seek to treat vegetation for such purposes as reduction of fire danger.Tippin said she’s looking forward to seeing how stewardship efforts in Washington are being translated locally.”It’s almost like a test as to whether the direction and the policies made at the national level can be easily implementable on the ground,” she said.In Washington, Tippin also provided expertise on litigation affecting timber sales.Tippin is transitioning into the acting supervisor job with the help of current acting supervisor Glenda Wilson, director of engineering for the Forest Service Rocky Mountain Region Office in Lakewood. Wilson was appointed to fill in for 12 weeks when WRNF supervisor Martha Ketelle took a temporary assignment with The Nature Conservancy in Boulder as part of a federal leadership training program.As it turned out, Ketelle wouldn’t be returning to her WRNF position. In June, the Forest Service announced she was being promoted to a job in the agency’s Washington office.Tippin’s job will last until Oct. 30. At that point, another acting supervisor will come in, Tippin said.That’s because the hiring process to replace Ketelle won’t be completed before then. The Forest Service has yet to start advertising the job opening, and those ads typically will run for at least a month. Then it probably will take another two to four months before someone is hired and on the job, Tippin said.In the meantime, Tippin plans to enjoy her new home, temporary or not.”I can’t think of a better place to spend the summer and fall than right here because it’s humid and buggy in Wisconsin,” Tippin said. “But more importantly, it’s really beautiful here.”Tippin, who is 49 and single, enjoys golfing, hiking and gardening. She also has developed a keen interest in Civil War history since visiting battlefield sites while working in Washington.Contact Dennis Webb: 945-8515, ext. 516dwebb@postindependent.com


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