Reports: Trump considers Cables
Vail official is said to be on the list to lead the Forest Service.
Colorado native Rick Cables, a veteran Forest Service boss who led Colorado Parks and Wildlife before joining Vail Resorts as vicepresident of natural resources and conservation, is on the shortlist to become the new chief of the U.S. Forest Service, according to news reports.
The energy and environmental network E&E News last week reported that Cables, a native of Pueblo who spent 35 years with the Forest Service, could be the Trump Administration’s choice for chief of the 34,000-employee Forest Service. (Another rumored choice is Lyle Laverty, a Colorado-based Forest Service veteran who served under the Bush Administration in the Interior Department. And there is speculation that the Trump Administration may retain Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell, who served for most of the Obama Administration.)
The idea of Chief Cables excites Colorado’s recreation and ski industry officials as well as public land managers.
“I think he’s a perfect, perfect choice for that role,” said Luis Benitez, the head of the Colorado Outdoor Recreation Industry Office, citing Cable’s experience in both the private and public domains. “It is the logical conclusion for their search for a new chief.”
Cables retired from his 35-year career with the Forest Service as regional forester for the agency’s heavily-trafficked Rocky Mountain Region in 2011. He spent two years merging the Colorado Division of Wildlife and the Colorado State Parks Department into a single entity. In 2013 he left public service to join Vail as an executive tasked with managing the company’s land, water and wildlife issues and navigating the complex federal regulatory hurdles involving its long-term leases on federal lands.
Cables was unavailable for comment on Monday.
If Cables is tapped to replace Tidwell, he would bring a breadth of Colorado experience to Washington as an advocate for the state’s reliance on public lands. The Forest Service manages more than a fifth of Colorado’s land and those roughly 15 million acres — spread across 11 national forests and two national grasslands — are some of the busiest in the country. On the Western Slope of Colorado, where federal lands make up more than 90 percent of several rural counties’ acreage, those lands are inextricably tied to local economies and communities dependent on skiers, hunters, hikers, motorized users, campers and other recreational users.