Debbie Cress was named supervisor of the Santa Fe National Forest on Friday.

Cress, who grew up farming and ranching in Southern New Mexico, will oversee management, conservation and enhancement of 1.6 million forested acres across six counties in the Sangre de Cristo and Jemez Mountain ranges.

“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, who begins her new job April 26, said in a news release. "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.”

Cress, a former district ranger for both the Tonto and Gila National Forests, succeeds James Melonas, now supervisor for the national forests of North Carolina.

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