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Nevada Forest Service Head Quits

November 8, 1999

RENO, Nev. (AP) _ The Forest Service supervisor in charge of national forests in Nevada abruptly announced her resignation Monday, citing an atmosphere of ``hostility and distrust″ toward federal employees in the state.

Locked in a battle over protection of the threatened bull trout as well as mining and livestock grazing controversies in Nevada, Gloria Flora said she intends to leave her post soon after the first of the year.

``Fed-bashing is a sport here and I refuse to sit by quietly and let it happen as many others are doing,″ Flora, supervisor of the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, said in a statement. ``I hope that my departure will call attention to this situation.″

Flora, who said she’ll consider reassignment to another Forest Service post, became supervisor in July 1998 of the Humboldt-Toiyabe _ the largest national forest in the Lower 48 states.

Most recently, she has angered some county, state and federal officials involved in a dispute over threatened bull trout in Elko County, where officials want to rebuild a remote road inside the national forest.

``We have accomplished some outstanding natural resource work, however, the atmosphere of hostility and distrust toward federal employees is unacceptable,″ Flora said.

Forest Service scientists say reconstruction of the road, which was wiped out in a flood in 1995, could push the last surviving bull trout in Nevada into extinction.

A citizen work crew led by state Assemblyman John Carpenter backed down from plans to defy the Forest Service and rebuild the road after politicians worried about violence and a federal judge issued a restraining order against them.

Jack Blackwell, regional forester in charge of the Forest Service’s Intermountain Region, said he understands Flora’s reasons for leaving.

``The Forest Service is in the middle of controversy about natural resource issues everywhere in the country, but the acrimony and attitude toward the agency, its employees and other federal employees in Nevada are extremely troubling to me,″ Blackwell said.

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