SAF Statement on Tony Tooke Being Named Chief of the US Forest Service

August 21, 2017

Tony Tooke was named the next chief of US Forest Service by US Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue on August 21. Tooke will succeed Chief Tom Tidwell, who announced his retirement on August 18 after 40 years with the agency. Tidwell’s final day in office will be September 1.

“SAF is pleased to have Tony Tooke, a long time SAF member, named as the successor to Chief Tidwell,” said John Barnwell, SAF’s director of government affairs and external relations. “His depth of experience and track record of handling challenging issues and successful leadership in Region 8 will serve him well leading the 40,000 employees at the USFS. We look forward to working with him and supporting him as he settles into this new role.”

“SAF would be remiss if it did not acknowledge the great strides fellow SAF member Chief Tidwell made during his eight-year tenure,” added Barnwell. “His steady hand leading the agency through many challenging fire years should not be overlooked. He led the agency through tragedy and the relentless pursuit of a change in how the federal government funds wildfire suppression and control.”

Tooke, who previously served as regional forester for the Forest Service’s Southern Region, has worked for the Forest Service since age 18, including many assignments in the region and at the agency’s Washington, DC, office. Tooke grew up on a 200-acre farm in Detroit, Alabama. He  earned a bachelor’s degree in forestry from Mississippi State University. He was in the Forest Service’s inaugural class of its Senior Leadership Program and he has completed the Senior Executive Service Candidate Development Program.