Forest Service selects Northern Regional Forester as new National Forest System Deputy Director

Release Date: Nov 9, 2011  

Forest Service selects Northern Regional Forester as new National Forest System Deputy Chief

November 8, 2011

WASHINGTON --  U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell announced today the selection of Leslie Weldon, currently the regional forester in Montana, as the new deputy chief of the program that oversees 193 million acres of forests and grasslands.

Weldon will move to Washington, D.C. early next year to take over the position, which has been vacant since Joel Holtrop retired two months ago. Since 2009, Weldon oversaw 15 national forests and 4 national grasslands within the states of Montana, Idaho and North Dakota.

“We are excited to bring Leslie back to Washington to take the reins of this incredibly important arm of the Forest Service. Her management, community involvement and partnership skills were key considerations in making this choice,” Tidwell said. “Leslie’s experience, judgment and leadership will serve the agency and the public very well.”

As deputy chief of the national Forest System, Weldon will manage projects and programs for 155 national forests and 20 grasslands across the country.

Weldon began her career as a summer hire on the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest in Washington fighting fire and surveying wildlife. Since then she held biologist positions on the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie, at the National Headquarters, and in the Northern Regional Office. She also served as Stevensville District Ranger on the Bitterroot National Forest, as Liaison to the U.S. Army and as Executive Policy Assistant to former Forest Service Chief Michael Dombeck. Weldon was Forest Supervisor on the Deschutes National Forest from 2000 - 2007. 

Weldon holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Biological Sciences from Virginia Tech. She and her husband Michael Weldon have twin sons who attend Oregon State University.