The man serving as acting supervisor for the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forests has been hired to fill the supervisor position.

Chad Stewart will begin his new job on Sept. 9, the U.S. Forest Service said in a news release.

He began serving as deputy forest supervisor in May 2018. Former supervisor Scott Armentrout left that job last October to work for the Bonneville Power Administration in the Pacific Northwest, and Stewart was named acting supervisor then.

Stewart has worked the last 26 years for the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management in Colorado, New Mexico, Montana and Oregon.

He served as the district forest ranger in Steamboat Springs and as fire staff officer on the Lincoln National Forest in New Mexico. He has other fire-related experience including working on a hot shot crew and as an engine captain, fire ecologist and fire management officer.

Stewart has master's degrees in forestry and business.

Stewart said in the release, "I'm looking forward to the challenges and opportunities in leading land management efforts. Local relationships and collaboration are extremely important to me and building and fostering those relationships is a core principle of mine. Local relationships provide the foundation for effective partnerships."

The three forests are administered as a single unit from the Forest Supervisor's Office in Delta, according to the website. The forests cover almost 3 million acres in Mesa, Delta, Montrose, Gunnison, Hinsdale, Ouray, San Miguel, Saguache and Garfield counties, and they receive an estimated 2.27 million recreational visitors a year.

Stewart takes on the leadership post as the Forest Service is working to update the three national forests' current plan, which dates to 1983. The agency recently released a working draft of the proposed new plan for public feedback.

Stewart and his wife, Amy, have two kids in middle school, and the family enjoys camping, geocaching, basketball, Girl Scouts, biking, skiing, fishing and traveling, the news release said.

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