Meet a Forester, Jim Pena

Joel Prince, NASF

Meet a Forester, Jim Pena

This month, we are pleased to feature Jim Peña, Regional Forester for the USDA Forest Service Pacific Northwest Region and WFLC Co-Lead. We invite you to meet Jim!

What was your first position in the field of forestry? 

My very first position was a YCC enrollee on the Cleveland National Forest. For eight weeks we did projects on the Palomar Ranger District like trail construction and maintenance, clearing fuel breaks, campground maintenance, and outdoor education. This experience is what made me want to be a forester and join the Forest Service.

How long have you been in your role?

I have been Regional Forester since August 2014, so nearly four years. This job is a homecoming of sorts since I spent the first twenty years of my career here.

What do you enjoy most about being a WFLC member?  

I enjoy the opportunity to build and reinforce personal relationships with State Foresters and gain insights and an understanding of challenges in other parts of the west. I believe this helps me do my job better and bring new ideas to my Region.

What do you see to be the emerging issues in your region?  

The biggest emerging issue for us is starting to revise the Forest Plans in the area of the Northwest Forest Plan Amendment. This will be a joint effort between Region 5 (California) and Region 6 and require support from two Research Stations and the coordination with three State Foresters. It will be a big lift. Following that would be increasing large fires and the associated smoke impacts to communities and the economy. And finally we are focusing on connecting with urban and underserved communities to increase awareness of the opportunities public lands offer and how they can help in shared stewardship.

What is your favorite tree?  

Favorite tree would have to be the ponderosa pine. It is such a beautiful and resilient tree. I enjoy the many faces the tree presents at different life stages. And it smells great!