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Faye Krueger

Faye Krueger

Regional Forester Faye Krueger will retire from her post at the head of the U.S. Forest Service’s Region 1 headquarters in Missoula at the end of January.

“I’ve been eligible to retire for a while, and we decided it was time to reconnect with family and our grandkids,” Krueger said Friday. “I’m looking forward to that.”

Krueger, 59, took the top job on the five-state Region 1 almost three years ago. She joined the Forest Service as a seasonal worker in 1980.

Deputy Regional Forester Dave Schmid will serve as interim forester until a permanent replacement is chosen. Krueger said she planned to leave at the end of January.

Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell, himself a former Region 1 forester, will recommend a replacement for Krueger to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. That process could take three to six months.

The Region 1 forester supervises the work of 2,100 permanent Forest Service employees in Montana and parts of Idaho, North Dakota and South Dakota.

Krueger earned a degree in forestry from the University of Montana before beginning her Forest Service career. She served on the Gallatin National Forest and then moved to Alaska to work on the Tongass National Forest, as well as the Payette, Wasatch-Cache and Caribou national forests, and the Dakota Prairie Grasslands in Dickinson, North Dakota.

In 2008, she was promoted to deputy regional forester of the Southwest Region. She became associate deputy chief of the National Forest System in 2011. In Missoula, she replaced Leslie Weldon, who became Tidwell’s deputy chief of the Forest Service.

“We’ve made a lot of progress toward the goals we wanted to accomplish, and it’s a good time to leave,” Krueger said. “I’ve enjoyed Missoula and the great partners we have in this region that help us accomplish our mission.”

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Natural Resources & Environment Reporter

Natural Resources Reporter for The Missoulian.