By Donna Nemeth
U.S. Department of Agriculture
USDA Forest Service Chief Vicki Christiansen announced the temporary appointment of Tricia O’Connor as the acting regional forester for the Rocky Mountain Region, effective Oct. 19.
In this role, O’Connor will lead more than 2,000 employees and share stewardship of 22 million acres of national forests and grasslands in Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wyoming with partners and 48 affiliated tribes.
O’Connor currently serves as forest supervisor for the Bridger-Teton National Forest in Wyoming, where she oversees management on 3.4 million acres of public land.
She started her career with the Forest Service in 1988 on the Mt. Hood National Forest as a wildlife biologist. Her previous assignments include wildlife biologist for the Lolo National Forest in Montana; and district ranger, forest staff officer and deputy forest supervisor for the Tongass National Forest in Alaska. She has also held short-term positions as deputy director for Ecosystem Management Coordination in Washington, D.C., and deputy regional forester for the Intermountain Region in Utah.
O’Connor earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Cornell University and a master’s degree in natural resource management from Humboldt State University. She and her husband, Keith Rush, enjoy a wide range of outdoor activities and international travel.
O’Connor replaces Jennifer Eberlien, who has served as acting regional forester for the Rocky Mountain Region since October 2019. Eberlien accepted a new position as associate deputy chief for National Forest System at the USDA Forest Service Headquarters in Washington, D.C.