Bridger-Teton Forest Supervisor Kniffy Hamilton announces retirement
by Bridger-Teton National Forest
May 19, 2010
JACKSON - Forest Supervisor Kniffy Hamilton has served as the Forest Supervisor of the Bridger-Teton National Forest since November 1999. Monday (May 17, 2010), Hamilton announced her retirement from 30-years of government service. As Forest Supervisor, Hamilton has been responsible for the 3.4 million acres of Bridger-Teton National Forest land in Teton, Lincoln, and Sublette counties of Western Wyoming. Hamilton also was tasked with overseeing the 1.2 million acres of congressionally designated Wilderness in the Bridger, Gros Ventre and Teton Wilderness areas. Prior to Hamilton, Forest Supervisor Brian Stout (1984-1994) is the only other Supervisor to serve for a decade on the Bridger-Teton.
Under her leadership, the Bridger-Teton has evolved and changed in effort to remain true to the multiple-use mission of the Forest Service. Hamilton has led the Bridger-Teton through numerous events that have drawn national interest. In 2000, the Bridger-Teton National Forest participated in the USA Ski Trials for the National Olympics and Hamilton welcomed participants from across the nation. The summer 2001 was marked as one of the largest fire seasons on record and Hamilton led the Bridger-Teton through the outbreak of the Green Knoll Fire, which drew national attention as it burned just outside of Wilson, Wyoming. In the Green Knoll Fire, 150 homes were threatened and the Bridger-Teton was inundated with resources including helicopters, planes, bulldozers, fire engines, and close to 1,400 workers to combat the blaze. No homes were lost because of the firefighting effort and the fire was contained at 4,400 acres. In 2003, Hamilton decided not to lease 375,000 acres of the Bridger-Teton surrounding Jackson and the Gros Ventre Wilderness area. In 2004, Hamilton collaborated with industry and environmental organizations to consent to leasing in 44,720 acres of the Bridger-Teton that were outside of roadless areas and began work on an Environmental Impact Statement to look at issues around Canada lynx habitat and air quality. In 2005, Hamilton began the process of revising the Bridger-Teton Forest Plan, which is the guiding document that the land managers use in deciding what decision to approve and implement throughout the Forestís resources. Driven by her passion for the pronghorn, in 2008, Hamilton garnered the support of her fellow community leaders, as well as leaders in Grand Teton National Park and the National Elk Refuge and urged their participation in the designation of the Path of the Pronghorn. The Path of the Pronghorn is a migration corridor that historically the pronghorn herds have used as they transition between winter and summer ranges in western Wyoming. Hamilton also hosted the Boy Scouts of Americaís Order of the Arrow organization as nearly 1,000 scouts from across the United States arrived on the Bridger-Teton to complete more than $1,000,000 in service projects throughout the Forest.
Before moving to Jackson, Wyoming as the Bridger-Tetonís Forest Supervisor, Hamilton worked for the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) for almost 20 years in various jobs. A few of those jobs included the BLM National Invasive Plant Program Manager, Area Manager in the Phoenix District Office, Branch Chief of Biological Resources in the Arizona State Office, and two tours of duty in the BLM Washington Office as program leader for Ecosystem Management and Wildlife Habitat Management.
By profession, Hamilton is a Wildlife Biologist and worked as a Habitat Biologist for the Alaska Fish and Game Department in Anchorage, Alaska before working for BLM. She graduated from Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biological Sciences and Secondary Education.
Hamilton has served as the Chair of the Greater Yellowstone Coordinating Committee and represents the Bridger-Teton on the Yellowstone Ecosystem Subgroup of the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee. She served on the Board of the Jackson Hole Rotary Club and the Board of the Jackson Hole Farmers Market, and participated in Leadership Jackson Hole sponsored by the Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce. She also served as a board member of the Billings YMCA.
Hamilton was born in Denver, Colorado and grew up in Grand Junction, Colorado. She enjoys hiking, mountain biking, cross country skiing, fly fishing, exercising and playing with her three young granddaughters.
Photo courtesy Bridger-Teton National Forest