For 40 years, John Allen dedicated his life to protecting the forests of the Pacific Northwest. Now he plans to spend his time skiing, hiking and fishing in the same places he worked to safeguard.
Allen, the forest supervisor for the Deschutes National Forest since 2007, announced his retirement Friday, according to a press statement. His final day on the job will be June 21.
Holly Jewkes, the deputy forest supervisor for the Willamette National Forest, will replace Allen, according to Jean Nelson-Dean, public affairs officer for the Deschutes National Forest.
Allen, 62, worked for the Deschutes National Forest during a time of economic changes and rapid population growth in Central Oregon. His career bridged the period of industrial scale logging to an economy based more on tourism and recreation.
“One thing that stood out (during my career) was the evolution towards a more ecology-based system of forest management,” Allen said. “The primary use of the forest was for logging and grazing, but we have seen that recreation and public use has become a major economic driver for the area.”
As the population expanded and the number of tourists increased, Allen responded by overseeing the construction of ranger stations to accommodate the growing number of visitors.
Facilities built during Allen’s time as forest supervisor include the ranger district and forest supervisor’s office in Bend, the Welcome Station along the Cascades Lakes Highway, the Crescent Ranger District office and the Central Oregon Interagency Dispatch Center.
Two nonprofits were developed during Allen’s tenure — Discover Your Forest and Central Oregon Children’s Forest. Both offer conservation education, volunteer management and community services on Central Oregon public lands.
“My proudest achievements were my ability to work with the community to come up with solutions that are broadly supported,” Allen said.
Travels in Europe taught him the importance of working with local communities.
“My travels in Europe and across our country and Canada taught me the importance of understanding communities’ connection to the land surrounding them and the need to get them involved in our management decisions,” he said.
Allen, whose work includes a stint as deputy forest supervisor on the Gallatin National Forest in Montana, believes that forest sustainability will be his lasting legacy.
“In my time here, we established a good foundation for the next 40 years,” he said. “We want a future where the quality of life is enhanced by recreational opportunities, restored and resilient forest and the natural beauty of the area.”
Allen is looking forward to trips beyond Oregon’s borders. He and his wife are planning trekking trips in Ireland and the European Alps.
Most of all, he plans to stay in Central Oregon and participate in outdoor sports.
“I will be skiing midweek instead of the weekend,” he said with a laugh.
— Reporter: 541-617-7818, email@example.com