Colville National Forest Supervisor Rick Brazell has accepted a new assignment as supervisor for the Nez Perce and Clearwater national forests, the Forest Service announced Friday afternoon.
Brazell will split his time between Grangeville and Orofino, where the offices for the two forests remain separate but managed by one supervisor, said Laura Smith, agency spokeswoman.
Brazell has been the Colville supervisor since 2003.
He was not immediately available for comment on the effect his departure would have on forest issues, such as wilderness area proposals he was scheduled to make after a long series of public meetings last year.
“I’m a bit shocked,” said Mitch Friedman, executive director for Conservation Northwest, which has been involved in working out compromises on logging and wilderness issues throughout Brazell’s term.
“He’s been instrumental in moving the Colville from a battleground to a showcase. When he arrived, the forest was in gridlock with no timber projects moving forward because they were too controversial or environmentally destructive to get through the legal process.”
Brazell is scheduled to take charge of the Nez Perce-Clearwater forests Oct. 12.