WENATCHEE — Longtime U.S. Forest Service employee Mike Balboni will head the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest beginning in October, the agency announced Thursday.
Balboni is currently forest supervisor on the Kisatchie National Forest in Pineville, La. He will replace Supervisor Becki Heath, who was selected to become one of two deputy regional foresters at the region’s headquarters in Portland.
A news release quotes Pacific Northwest Regional Forester Kent Connaughton, who selected Balboni, saying, “Mike is a great fit for the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest. He has solid fire suppression management and forest supervisor experience. He’s been with the Forest Service for more than 30 years and has gained a wealth of knowledge in four different regions.”
Those regions include 11 years in Florida as a biological aid working in wildlife, timber management and prescribed burning; more than 12 years in Troy, Mont., on the Kootenai National Forest; and more than 20 years on several national forests in the West including two years as deputy forest supervisor on the Bridger-Teton National Forest in Jackson, Wyo., before moving to Louisiana.
He also served for more than seven years as chairman of the Selkirk/Cabinet-Yaak Interagency Grizzly Bear Subcommittee, and this year was selected by the Louisiana Wildlife Federation as the state’s Professional Conservationist of the Year.
A news release says Balboni is known for working collaboratively with interest groups, and has experience supervising revisions of national forest plans and administering stewardship contracts and agreements.
He has a bachelor’s degree in forest resources and conservation from the University of Florida, and has been married to his wife, Sylvia, for more than 30 years. They have two grown sons.