Flathead National Forest Supervisor Chip Weber announced Monday that he will retire in 2020, ending his 30-year career with the U.S. Forest Service.
Weber began his decades-long career with the Forest Service working on an ecology crew in southwest Oregon. He eventually went on to be a resource specialist on the Hoosier National Forest in Indiana and held two district ranger positions in Southeast Alaska and again in Oregon.
He became the forest supervisor for the Flathead National Forest in 2010 and says he knew Montana was the place he wanted to retire.
"What spurred it? Mostly I would say it’s because I’m still healthy enough to go up one side of the mountain and down the other doing the pursuits I like to do in the out of doors; and wanted to have time to do that. And the job that I’m in is a very busy job so I don’t get as much time as I’d like," Weber says.
Weber has seen many projects to completion during his nearly 10 years as Flathead National Forest supervisor. The most notable was the forest management plan, which dictates everything from how timber sales are conducted to recreation on the forest. The plan passed in December of 2018.
"I think what I’m most proud of with our forest plan is we didn’t, sort of, give in to individual special interests that wanted one thing or another. We really tried to balance the values that were gonna come off of this forest, and were gonna be enjoyed on this forest, across the range of values that exist in society."
Weber is due to retire Jan. 1 of 2021. The Flathead National Forest hopes to have his replacement on board before he leaves his post.