Flathead National Forest announces new forest supervisor

Kurt Steele with wife Melissa and son Jack at USFS Fish Lake Campground in Idaho

Kurt Steele with wife Melissa and son Jack at USFS Fish Lake Campground in Idaho

Kurt Steele, Chip Weber’s replacement as forest supervisor takes over in mid-February.

From the press release . . .

Kurt Steele has been named forest supervisor for Flathead National Forest. He’s expected to begin work in mid-February. Steele has been the deputy forest supervisor for the Nez-Perce Clearwater National Forests for the past three years.

“I am very pleased to welcome Kurt to the Flathead National Forest,” said Regional Forester Leanne Marten. “Kurt is a proven leader who welcomes new voices and diverse perspectives, and has dedicated his career to public service.”

In addition to his current service as deputy forest supervisor, Steele has completed three recent temporary forest supervisor assignments on the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest in Idaho, the Bitterroot National Forest in Montana, and the Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie in Illinois. Prior to his current position on the Nez Perce-Clearwater, Steele served as a district ranger on the Superior National Forest in Minnesota.

“I am tremendously honored to serve the public and forest employees as Flathead National Forest’s new supervisor,” said Steele. “I look forward to engaging with our partners, local businesses, and surrounding communities as we write the forest’s next chapter together. The Flathead Valley is an incredibly special place, and my family and I are excited about the opportunity to be able to settle in here and raise our family in this welcoming, community-oriented area.”

Steele began his Forest Service career as a firefighter on the Umatilla National Forest and the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forests, serving on engine crews, rappel teams, and was able to fill in with the Rogue River Hotshots. He then became a certified silviculturist and held forestry and planning roles on both the Willamette and Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forests, prior to becoming a line officer.

Steele was raised in Oregon and holds a B.S. in Natural Resources from Oregon State University with a focus on forest ecosystems, and a double minor in forest management and fisheries and wildlife. He enjoys most outdoor activities, and often finds himself on public lands where he likes to go hunting, fishing, wildlife viewing, camping, hiking, rafting, snowboarding/skiing, ATVing and boating.

Steele will be joined by his wife, Melissa, a middle school teacher, and five-year-old son, Jack at the end of the school year.

He succeeds Chip Weber, who retired at the end of 2019 after serving as Flathead National Forest Supervisor for nearly a decade.