ELKINS, W.Va. (WBOY) – Monongahela National Forest Supervisor Shawn Cochran has selected Robert West to be the new Deputy Forest Supervisor.

“Robert has served Monongahela National Forest well as the acting deputy forest supervisor over the past few months,” said Cochran. “His leadership and strategic thinking skills will be put to good use on managing all aspects of this national forest.”

West has been acting in the position since April and applied for the job full time. He said he is looking forward to working with local communities within the Monongahela National Forest on things like economic development.

Robert West, Monongahela National Forest Deputy Forest Supervisor.

Given the size of the Monongahela National Forest in relation to the size of West Virginia, West said it is vital that they begin the process of what they call shared stewardship.

“And that really is giving a voice to the public, and to the local community about how their public lands are managed. I often say, ‘this isn’t a little piece of the world that we get to lock up as we see fit.’ So, it is vital for us to make that effort, and to sit down with interested parties so we can determine together what shared stewardship will look like,” said West.

There are currently 12 Mon Forest Towns. The Monongahela National Forest includes more than 919,000 acres in 10 counties in West Virginia.

West came to the Monongahela after eight years serving as the district ranger for St. Ignace and Sault Ste. Marie Districts on the Hiawatha National Forest. He also served in temporary assignments as forest supervisor on the Shawnee and deputy forest supervisor on the Payette and Monongahela National Forests

“I look forward to getting to know the Monongahela, assisting the folks who manage our forest, and working with local communities and partners in our shared stewardship of this very special place,” said West.

West began his federal career as a park ranger with the National Park Service in Montana. He has served as a partnership coordinator on the Gifford Pinchot National Forest, a staff assistant in the Office of the Chief, and a program specialist in Fire and Aviation Management in Washington, D.C.