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Chip Weber spent a lot of time circling around Montana before landing the job he really wanted: Flathead National Forest supervisor.

"Both the forest and the area called to me," Weber said from his present post as district ranger in the Willamette National Forest's Middle Fork District. "It's an absolutely amazing piece of ground. A lot of my outdoor pursuits are offered there. It's one of the best places in the world to hunt and fish, and the forest itself has an outstanding reputation."

On his 24-year career path to Kalispell, Weber served in Alaska, Washington, Oregon and Indiana. He recently finished a stint as acting deputy forest supervisor for the Willamette National Forest, and served as acting supervisor on Oregon's Siuslaw National Forest two years ago.

He also worked as a natural resource specialist on the Hoosier National Forest in Indiana, acting director of forest management in Alaska, threatened and endangered species acting coordinator in the Eastern Region of the Forest Service, and some time in the Washington, D.C., headquarters budget office.

"One of the things I've found with acting assignments is you don't get all the pieces of the job," Weber said. "The first thing I do is learn from the people who've been there - learn what the issues are, not just from the Forest Service people but the community as well."

Weber said he expected his experience in fire ecology and firefighting would be put to use in the Flathead. He also has a bachelor's degree in forest management from Oregon State University and a master's degree in forest ecology and silviculture from the University of Washington.

Region 1 Forester Leslie Weldon appointed Weber to replace Cathy Barbouletos, who has been in the post since 1998.

"I've worked with Leslie in the past and I'm ecstatic to be working with her now," Weber said.

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Weber will start his new post May 10.

Reporter Rob Chaney can be reached at 523-5382 or at rchaney@missoulian.com

 

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