Under Idaho law, the state forester is either the director of the state Department of Lands or his/her designee. The last two state lands directors, George Bacon and Winston Wiggins, served as state forester as well as director, but Bacon appointed David Groeschl as acting state forester in July before he retired, leaving the question of a permanent decision to the next director. Current state Lands Director Tom Schultz said, “Clearly I have to have my hands and feet in the forestry issues, but a lot of those issues take place up in Coeur d'Alene, where the timber basket is.” That's where Groeschl is based. “I think there probably was a day when things were less complex,” Schultz said, and “allowed the director to directly engage in state forestry issues probably more than I can.” These days, the state lands director is engaged in lots of other issues as well, from state-owned cabin site leases to legislation.
Schultz noted that in both Montana and Washington, the state forester is a separate position from the state lands director.
Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.
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