Flathead National Forest Supervisor Chip Weber has announced plans to retire on Jan. 1, 2020, after a 30-year career that took him to four different regions and seven different national forests nationwide.
Weber has held his current supervisor role for nine years — a position he applied for and took on knowing he wanted Montana to be his “last best place for public service,” according to a press release.
In 2010, Weber described the position as his “dream job” shortly after stepping into the role. During his time as supervisor, Weber has been successful in meeting the multiple-use mission of the Flathead National Forest through an integrated program of work, community partnerships and the dedication of employees across the forest.
“I’m incredibly thankful for the amount of time I’ve been able to spend in Northwest Montana during my career. I’m especially proud of all the work we’ve been able to accomplish through the help of everyone in the community and our hard-working employees on the Flathead National Forest,” Weber said in a prepared statement.
He launched his U.S. Forest Service career in 1987 with an ecology crew in Oregon. From there, he expanded his experience to include botany, forestry, silviculture, biology and fire. Those newly found skill sets and interests set him up for his next step into the natural resource specialist position in the Hoosier National Forest in Indiana.
After Hoosier, Weber moved back west where he spent the next nine years in two district ranger assignments — one with the Wrangell Ranger District on the Tongass National Forest in Alaska and another in the Middle Fork District on the Willamette National Forest in Oregon.
Over the last 30 years, Weber also has worked as director of forest management in Alaska, threatened and endangered species coordinator in the Eastern Region of the Forest Service and worked in the Washington, D.C., headquarters budget office.
His career in the industry has taken him all over the country.
“The Forest Service’s motto is ‘caring for the land and serving the people,’ and Chip’s distinguished career reflects that commitment and service,” Regional Forester Leanne Marten said. “I want to congratulate Chip on his upcoming retirement, and thank him for his dedication to his employees, communities and partners.”
According to the press release, Weber is ready for his next adventure. He is looking forward to continuing his outdoor pursuits of hunting, fishing and golfing, and spending more time with family and friends in retirement.
A new Flathead National Forest supervisor is expected to be in place by the time Weber retires.