Robert Vaught to replace Flora as Humboldt-Toiyabe supervisor
RENO, Nev. – A forest supervisor in Washington will take charge of the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest in Nevada, where federal policies on public land management often clash with rural sentiment.
Robert Vaught, currently in charge of the Colville National Forest, will replace Gloria Flora, who resigned last month citing an atmosphere of ”hostility and distrust” toward federal employees in the state.
Vaught’s appointment was announced Monday by Jack Blackwell, regional forester in charge of the Forest Service’s Intermountain Region.
”We heard loud and clear about the importance of selecting a new forest supervisor who understands the people, issues and culture of Nevada,” Blackwell said in a written statement issued from the agency’s regional headquarters in Ogden, Utah.
”I think Bob truly fits the bill as he has previously worked on both the Humboldt and Toiyabe National Forests,” Blackwell said. ”He also has a great reputation of successfully working with people. We’re very pleased to have gotten him.”
Vaught worked at the Mountain City Ranger District on the Humboldt National Forest from 1984 to 1987 and was district ranger of the Toiyabe Austin District 1987 until 1991.
He was also a deputy supervisor of the Ketchikan Area of the Tongass National Forest in Alaska.
Vaught’s effective starting date was being negotiated, Blackwell said.
Flora’s resignation, effective at the end of the year, follows a tumultuous 18-month stint as head of the largest national forest in the Lower 48 states.
Her tenure in Nevada came to a head this fall, when she angered some county, state and federal officials involved in a heated dispute over threatened bull trout in Elko County, where local officials want to rebuild a remote road inside the national forest.
A citizen work crew led by state Assemblyman John Carpenter backed down from plans to defy the Forest Service and rebuild the road in October after politicians worried publicly about violence and a federal judge issued a restraining order against them.
Forest Service scientists say reconstruction of the road wiped out in a flood in 1995 could push the last bull trout in Nevada into extinction.