Re­ports: Trump con­sid­ers Ca­bles

Vail of­fi­cial is said to be on the list to lead the For­est Ser­vice.

The Denver Post - - NEWS - By Ja­son Blevins

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.

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