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New Member Profile: Paul Ries

Please join me in welcoming new NCSAF member Paul Ries, director of the Cooperative Forestry Staff, State & Private Forestry, in Forest Service headquarters. Paul was named director in November 2008, and assumed his new duties in February. In this role he provides leadership and guidance for agency programs that provide technical, financial, and educational assistance to non-industrial private forest landowners and to communities, including the Forest Stewardship Program, the Forest Legacy Program, and Urban & Community Forestry activities. Implementation of forestry programs authorized in the Cooperative Forestry Assistance Act, including cooperation with other USDA agencies and partnerships with many stakeholders in conservation of private lands, are important parts of Paul’s portfolio.

Paul spent his formative years in California, alternating between greater Los Angeles and the mountains outside of Yosemite National Park near the Sierra National Forest. He attended Colorado State University, graduating with a degree in forest biology (ecology) with a minor in psychology.

Paul’s Forest Service career started from the ground up: as a 19-year-old seasonal employee he cleaned outhouses and cared for campgrounds. He also worked for a short while as a park ranger in Colorado. His permanent career began in Region 2, on the Rio Grande and Routt National Forests working in silviculture. After several years as an assistant ranger on the Routt National Forest, he served as Spearfish District Ranger on the Black Hills for seven years. He then moved to the Sawtooth National Recreation Area in Idaho where he was the area ranger for six years. He moved into the Intermountain Regional Office in Ogden UT to join the State & Private Staff and help merge the R-1 and R-4 S&PF organizations. He then spent two years on the R1/R4 National Fire Plan Team, serving the final year as Team Lead. He returned to S&PF as Deputy Director before becoming the director in 2007.

Paul’s wife Linda also received a degree in forest biology and is a certified secondary science teacher. She recently retired from the Forest Service as the Region 4 conservation education program manager.

Paul and Linda have two sons – both in college, and both studying mechanical engineering. Their older son, Mike attends Montana State University in Bozeman, and their younger son, Jake, is in his third year at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.

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