Tofte welcomes new District Ranger Kurt Steele

The U.S. Forest Service Tofte District welcomed Kurt Steele as the new district ranger in early September.

Steele brings a broad background in natural resource management.  He graduated with a bachelor's degree from Oregon State University in natural resources with an option in forest ecosystems. He also double minored in forest management, and fisheries and wildlife. 

Later, Steele successfully completed the National Advanced Silvicultural Program to become a fully certified silviculturist. During that program he studied at Michigan Tech, Northern Arizona University, University of Tennessee, and Oregon State University.

Steele has held positions on several national forests across the country.  He started his Forest Service career as a temporary employee with the fire management program on the Umatilla National Forest in eastern Oregon. 

His next duty station was on the Rouge-Siskiyou National Forest in southwest Oregon. Steele then accepted a forester position on the Willamette National Forest in western Oregon.  His last duty station prior to coming to the Tofte Ranger District was in Georgia on the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest where he served as a silviculturist. 

Steele has continued to participate in fire operations where he has established a number of qualifications including Incident Commander Type 4. 

 Kurt and his wife, Melissa, come to Cook County with their two pets, Trigger, a yellow lab, and Oconee, a kitten. Melissa has already begun her new job as a teacher in the local school system.  They look forward to becoming part of the community.