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Northland national forests get new leaders

Tom Hall takes over at Superior National Forest and Jenn Youngblood now heads Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest.

U.S. Forest Service
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DULUTH — U.S. Forest Service officials announced Tuesday that Tom Hall has been named supervisor of the Superior National Forest in Northeastern Minnesota, replacing Connie Cummins, who retired at the end of July.

Tom Hall, supervisor of the Superior National Forest
Tom Hall.
Contributed / U.S. Forest Service

Meanwhile, Jenn Youngblood will head the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest in northern Wisconsin starting Sept. 26. She replaces Paul Strong, who left to take a position as director of environmental planning and stewardship in the Forest Service’s eastern regional office.

Hall, who started work this week in the Superior National Forest's Duluth headquarters, served in legislative affairs for the Forest Service in Washington, D.C. for the past two and a half years. Before then, Hall was a district ranger in California’s Shasta Trinity National Forest for six years.

Hall has worked in planning, fuels and recreation, with over 20 years dedicated to sustainable land management principles. He has degrees in forestry from Colorado State University and served in the Colorado Army National Guard as a helicopter mechanic.

Hall faces some big issues in the 3 million-acre forest, including the battle over potential copper-nickel mining near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness; a proposed expansion of the Lutsen ski resort on the North Shore; debates over how many camping permits to issue in the BWCAW each summer; and ongoing differences over where and how much to log in the forest.


“I plan to continue to build on the relationships with the tribes; navigate and manage the complexities of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness; ensure sustainable and science-based natural resources management occurs at the landscape scale; and enable the public to sustainably enjoy their federal lands,” Hall said in a statement released this week.

Jenn Youngblood, supervisor of the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest
Jenn Youngblood.
Contributed / U.S. Forest Service

Youngblood comes to the Rhinelander-based Chequamegon-Nicolet forest from the Chippewa National Forest in Minnesota, where she was deputy forest supervisor. She previously served as the special assistant to the regional forester for tribal relations, serving tribes, forest leadership and supporting the eastern region field team. She brings more than 30 years of experience developing and managing programs ranging from diverse issues.

Meanwhile, two ranger districts in the Superior National Forest have new district directors. Adam Cochran has been named as the new district ranger for the Laurentian District based in Aurora, replacing Ann Niesen. Sunny Lucas has been named as the new district ranger for the Cook-based LaCroix District, replacing Lee Stewart.

The Forest Service is a division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

John Myers reports on the outdoors, natural resources and the environment for the Duluth News Tribune. You can reach him at jmyers@duluthnews.com.
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