USDA Forest Service Chief Vicki Christiansen announced today the appointment of Gina Owens as Regional Forester for the Forest Service’s Eastern Region.
As Regional Forester, Owens will oversee management of more than 12 million acres of the National Forest System spread across 17 national forests and one national tallgrass prairie in the Northeast and Midwest. Owens will continue to foster and maintain strong ties with 20 states and the District of Columbia as well as partners and private landowners to support state and private forest lands in a spirit of shared stewardship.
"Gina's diverse experience and leadership skills include an extensive understanding of both rural and urban communities' connection to public land," said Chief Christiansen. “She brings a well-rounded resource background, as well as extensive relationship and partnership abilities to the table that will be a tremendous asset to the region, our partners and the entire agency."
Owens is currently serving as the Deputy Regional Forester for the Forest Service's Pacific Northwest Region. Previously, she was the Forest Supervisor on the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. Beginning her career as a Forest Service volunteer in the Alaska Region, Owens has dedicated more than 30 years to the agency. Owens has held a variety of leadership and staff positions across the agency including in the agency national headquarters in Washington, D.C., Oregon, Washington, Montana, and in the Eastern Region, where she served as a District Ranger in Vermont on the Green Mountain and Finger Lakes National Forests. She has a degree in wildland recreation management from Washington State University.
“I am excited to work with the multitude of communities, partners, and employee perspectives, needs and opportunities the Eastern Region offers,” said Owens. “My goal is to build on the long-standing legacy of strong partnerships with state, tribal and local partners and maintain healthy, productive and sustainable forests through a spirit of shared stewardship.”
Owens is taking over the position left vacant in April 2019, when Kathleen Atkinson retired after serving six years as the Regional Forester for the Eastern Region. In the interim, Robert Lueckel has served as the acting Regional Forester and will return to his role as the Deputy Regional Forester for State and Private Forestry in the Region.
The mission of the USDA Forest Service is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The agency manages the 193 million acres of National Forest System land, provides stewardship assistance to non-federal forest landowners, and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world.
For more information about the U.S. Forest Service visit http://www.fs.usda.gov/.