WENATCHEE—Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest Supervisor Mike Balboni has announced his plans to retire on January 3, 2015, from the Forest Service after a 36-year career that has included assignments in four regions of the Forest Service and on twelve different national forests.
Chris Frisbee, currently deputy forest supervisor for the Klamath National Forest in northern California, will serve as acting supervisor for the Okanogan-Wenatchee Forest and plans to arrive in early January.
Balboni earned a bachelor’s degree in forest resources and conservation from the University of Florida with a major of Wildlife Ecology. He began his career in Florida as a biological aid working in wildlife, timber management and prescribed burning. He rose through a variety of ranger, staff and supervisor jobs to his current assignment as supervisor of the 4 million acre Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest.
Balboni was a district ranger for more than 12 years in Troy, Montana, on the Kootenai National Forest, prior to becoming deputy forest supervisor for the Bridger-Teton N.F., in Jackson, Wyoming. He spent two and a half years on the Bridger-Teton National Forest and more than 20 years in the west, before moving to Pineville, Louisiana, to become forest supervisor on the Kisatchie National Forest in 2009. He has also served as the acting deputy regional forester for natural resources for the agency’s southern region.
He has worked in a collaborative fashion with interest groups, and has considerable experience in endangered species management and recovery, particularly grizzly bear. Balboni has spent over 20 years as a Line Officer for the Forest Service and has extensive experience with large fires as an Agency Administrator.
“This fire season was one of the more memorable of my career and I cannot describe how proud and impressed I was with our employees, the thousands that came in to assist us, the local and state agencies working side by side with us, and the communities and residents during this difficult time, I was very proud to be part of the Okanogan-Wenatchee NF and the State of Washington,” Balboni said.
“While I have been here, one of my goals was to help move forward several projects that have lingered for quite some time. We have completed some, made progress on others and I believe we are in a good position to move forward on many,” Balboni said.
Balboni has been supervisor of the Okanogan-Wenatchee NF since September 2013.
“When I retire I will not have quite made a year and a half on the Okanogan-Wenatchee Forest,” he said. “When I accepted this job in August 2013, I did not anticipate I would be retiring quite this soon, but there are positive personal reasons for this being the right time for me. I am ready and extremely happy about moving on to retirement and being with my family. It is very right for me, my family and loved ones.”
Although most of his career has been in the western United States, Balboni will be moving to the southern states in retirement.
“I have spent most of my career in the west. But for me home is in the south and that is where I will go to retire, in Pineville, Louisiana, with my wife Debbie,” he said. Balboni’s two sons both graduated from Montana State University; one resides in Montana and the other in Vermont.
“I care deeply for the Forest Service and I would not trade anything for the career I have had and the opportunities given to me by this agency. I will always be proud and support the Forest Service,” he said.
Balboni plans to continue doing the things he enjoys in retirement including spending time with family, working on numerous home projects, golfing, hunting, biking, and maybe some fishing.