WENATCHEE—Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest Supervisor Mike Balboni has announced the appointment of Jason Kuiken as the new deputy forest supervisor of the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest.
Kuiken will become the national forest’s second-highest ranking official, working directly under Balboni and serving as forest supervisor in his absence. He will help oversee management of four-million acres of federal land in Washington and more than 450 employees. Kuiken is currently a district ranger on the Chippewa National Forest’s Deer River Ranger District in Deer River, Minn., and will report for duty on the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest on January 27, 2014.
He replaces Clint Kyhl, who served as the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest’s deputy forest supervisor from June 2009 until June 2013. Kyhl is now forest supervisor of Wyoming’s Bridger-Teton National Forest.
“Jason is highly-respected for his leadership, and collaborative skills working with American Indian tribes and agency partners,” Balboni said. “He also has experience working at the national headquarters for the Department of Agriculture and Forest Service in Washington, D.C., and the agency’s Rocky Mountain Regional Office in Golden, Colorado.”
“There are three national forests that have always captured my soul and the Okanogan-Wenatchee is one of them,” Kuiken said. “It has such diverse ecosystems—from its rugged peaks to shrub steppe lowlands to mighty rivers. It’s one of the most beautiful parts of the country.”
Kuiken grew up in Central Wisconsin. He has a bachelor’s degree in natural resource management from the University of Wisconsin—Steven Point, and a master’s degree in public administration from Columbia University.
His first assignment was in Washington, D.C., where he served as a budget liaison between the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and Office of Management and Budget. He then served as a member of the Rocky Mountain Regional Response Team, developing a regional recreation plan.
Kuiken also developed annual program direction while working in the Forest Service’s Rocky Mountain Regional Budget Office. He also completed temporary assignments as a district ranger on the Pike and San Isabel National Forests in Colorado.
His wife Sarah is also an agency employee working in sustainable operations, which seeks to reduce the Forest Service’s fuel and energy consumption, increase its use of renewable power sources, and encourage recycling.
They are raising three-year-old and one-year-old sons. Their hobbies include fishing, hiking, photography and road cycling.