SFNF Supervisor Debbie Cress
SANTA FE — Southwestern Region Regional Forester Michiko Martin has announced the selection of Debbie Cress to take the helm of the Santa Fe National Forest (SFNF) as its new Forest Supervisor.
Cress has been serving as deputy forest supervisor on the SFNF. In her new role, she will oversee the management, conservation and enhancement of 1.6 million forested acres across six counties in the Sangre de Cristo and Jemez Mountain ranges.
“Debbie has played an important leadership role on the Santa Fe National Forest since she joined the forest in January 2020,” Martin said. “Her nearly two decades’ of experience in land management, commitment to collaboration and partnerships, and familiarity with the forest will provide a seamless transition into her new role. ”
Cress, who begins her new job April 26, said that she is grateful for the opportunity to continue to support the team of professionals who manage the cultural, ecological and economic resources on the SFNF.
“The Santa Fe National Forest is a special place, both to the local communities who value its many resources and the visitors who find solace in its mountains, valleys and mesas,” Cress said. “I am honored to be able to continue to work with our diverse stakeholders and communities to meet the challenges we face and improve the health and resilience of our forest so future generations have the same opportunity to enjoy their public lands.”
A native New Mexican, Cress grew up in southern New Mexico where her family has farmed and ranched over multiple generations. Prior to joining SFNF, she held district ranger positions on both the Tonto and Gila National Forests. Her first permanent job with the Forest Service was on the Tonto as a natural resources and rangeland management specialist. While she was working on her degree in range science from New Mexico State University, Cress spent summers as a seasonal employee on the Cibola National Forest in New Mexico and in the USDA Forest Service Northern Region’s Regional Office in Montana.
Cress succeeds former Forest Supervisor James Melonas, who is now Forest Supervisor for the National Forests of North Carolina, and Acting Forest Supervisor Erin Swiader, who returns to her job as Chief of Staff for the Northern Region.