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Published: Friday, May 4, 2012, 12:01 a.m.

New Forest Service official focused on stewardship

  • Jennifer Eberlien is the new supervisor of the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest.

    Jennifer Eberlien is the new supervisor of the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest.

EVERETT -- For the first time in its 100-year history, the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest is under the leadership of a woman.
Jennifer Eberlien, 42, is the new forest supervisor of the 1.7 million-acre national forest, which stretches 150 miles along the west side of the Cascade Range from Canada to Mount Rainier National Park.
With offices based in Everett, Eberlien is eager to go out to meet with employees, communities and jurisdictions that have partnerships with the Mount Baker- Snoqualmie National Forest.
"We need the public to help us make the best decisions possible for the future of the forest, within federal regulations and the limits of our funding," she said. "Our biggest challenge right now is public access for recreation. Making the decisions about the use of the forest can be incredibly frustrating, but can also provide opportunities to involve communities."
Gifford Pinchot, chief of the Forest Service under President Theodore Roosevelt, once said that the agency's mission was to do "the greatest good for the greatest number of people in the long run."
"I agree with that, because for me it's all about stewardship," Eberlien said. "We are paid by the American public to be accountable."
During her first year on the job, Eberlien plans to host public meetings to talk about the forest-wide road system.
"People need a place to cuss and discuss," she said. "People in this area care about the outdoors."
An estimated 5 million people annually camp, hike, fish or take part in other recreational activities on the multi-use public land.
Other topics of concern for Eberlien include forest products and business opportunities, flooding and climate change, conservation and the environmental health of the forest.
Several controversial topics focusing national attention on the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest have been inherited by Eberlien. These include the clean-up of the Monte Cristo mining area, proposed repairs to Suiattle River Road and the future of the fire lookout on Green Mountain in the Glacier Peak Wilderness.
Eberlien most recently served as the deputy forest supervisor of the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest in Oregon. Originally from Wisconsin, Eberlein earned her master's degree in archeology from Northern Arizona University. She also worked for the federal Bureau of Land Management in Portland, the national office of the U.S. Forest Service in Washington, D.C., and was the Moab District ranger in the Manti-La Sal National Forest in Utah. A hiker, Eberlien lives in Everett with her husband Matt Thomas.
"I am honored to be here in this beautiful place and to work with our staff of dedicated and innovative Forest Service employees," Eberlien said.
Gale Fiege: 425-339-3427; gfiege@heraldnet.com.

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