Forest Supervisor Leaves Legacy after 50 Years of Forest Management

Contact(s): Jennifer Chapman, 530 957-9660

Eldorado National Forest Supervisor Laurence Crabtree announced that he will retire on January 6, 2020, completing a career that spanned 50 years.

When asked about his most important accomplishments, Supervisor Crabtree said, "I've been fortunate to be surrounded by smart, capable, hard working folks who understand what it means to be a civil servant. We got a lot done because they really believe in our motto of Caring for the Land and Serving People. Here, I'm particularly proud that the Eldorado has become a leader in the region for both timber production and fuel treatment.”

Regarding a specific highlight, he added, "I think one of the most inspiring moments for me was when we dedicated the Olympic Training Center at Echo Summit as a California Historical Landmark." 

"The United States Track and Field Team dominated in the 1968 Olympics, and part of that history was here on the Eldorado National Forest. Meeting the athletes who had the courage to bring international attention to civil rights was an incredible honor," he reflected.

Supervisor Crabtree has collaborated with many state and local agencies, tribes, private industry, environmental groups, researchers, and recreationalists alike. Under his leadership, the Eldorado was the first national forest to have a Good Neighbor Authority agreement with CAL FIRE; the first to accomplish projects under a Master Stewardship Agreement with the National Wild Turkey Federation; and a primary partner with Sierra Pacific Industries to reduce the risk of wildfire to California spotted owl habitat.

El Dorado County Supervisor Brian Veerkamp said, "We have great appreciation for the way Laurence worked collaboratively and built relationships between jurisdictions as we worked together on projects such as the SOFAR Cohesive Strategy, Christmas tree permits, improved forest health initiatives, and the Master Stewardship Agreement process. He will be missed."

"Laurence Crabtree's retirement is a big loss to the Pacific Southwest Region and the Forest Service," said Regional Forester Randy Moore. "Fortunately, Laurence has been an outstanding supervisor and mentor to many up and coming future leaders of this agency. His contributions to recruitment and workforce development are among his greatest accomplishments and will leave a lasting legacy."

Congressman McClintock, whose District includes the Eldorado National Forest, remarked, "Laurence Crabtree is the ideal forester Gifford Pinchot had in mind. Pinchot's first maxim for foresters defines Laurence's service -- 'A public official is there to serve the public and not run them.' I personally thank Laurence Crabtree for 50 years of devotion to safeguarding our national forests for the use and enjoyment of the American people."

Beginning as a teenager in 1969, Mr. Crabtree worked in a youth employment program on the Clearwater National Forest in northern Idaho, followed by a series of seasonal positions as a fire fighter and timber cruiser, and as a forester for the Colville Confederated Tribes in Washington. He then worked 20 years on the Lassen National Forest as a District Timber Management Officer and District Resource Officer. In 1999, he was promoted to District Ranger on the Humbolt-Toiyabe National Forest, where he led the consolidation of the Austin and Toponah Districts. In 2003, he transferred to the Modoc National Forest where he held District Ranger positions on the Big Valley and Doublehead Districts, eventually working to consolidate them. From 2011-2013, he served as Deputy Forest Supervisor on the Plumas National Forest. The culmination of his career has been to serve as Forest Supervisor of the Eldorado National Forest for the past 6 ½ years.

Growing up on a ranch, Mr. Crabtree learned about land management and began exploring the outdoors at an early age. Among his forestry accomplishments are his contributions to the field of entomology. He is the author of "Discovering the butterflies of Lassen Volcanic National Park" (1998); he rediscovered a rare moth in the Sierras which had not been seen for 140 years; and he discovered a new moth in Nevada, that was named Pelochrista crabtreei in recognition of this achievement.

Looking ahead, Mr. Crabtree will have more time for his personal outdoor interests and sharing them with others including his five grandchildren and two great grandchildren. Mr. Crabtree and his wife Denice plan to return to Big Valley in Modoc County where they have had a home for many years.


PHOTO: Laurence Crabtree at the Eldorado National Forest Supervisor's Office in Placerville. - USFS