Letters From the West

Jack Lavin, influential forester and conservationist, dies

Jack Lavin

Jack Lavin

Jack Lavin, who served as supervisor for five national forests before he retired, and then continued to work for conservation and the Boise community, died Wednesday.

Lavin ended his career on the Boise National Forest in the early 1990s and embarked on an ambitious effort to support wildlife, forest health and, most of all, collaboration between the people who work on the land and those who love it.

He worked with state and federal agencies on the Watchable Wildlife program in the 1990s. More recently he was a key player in the Idaho Forest Restoration Partnership.

“The man personified public service and Forest Service at its best,” said John Freemuth, a Boise State political science professor.

In a letter to staff, Boise National Forest Supervisor Cecilia Seesholtz said Lavin “made a huge impact on the Forest Service while he was an employee and continued with that influence even in his retirement.”

A memorial service is set for Dec. 14 at St. John’s Cathedral in Boise, Seesholtz said.

Rocky Barker is the energy and environment reporter for the Idaho Statesman and has been writing about the West since 1985. He is the author of Scorched Earth How the Fires of Yellowstone Changed America and co-producer of the movie Firestorm: Last Stand at Yellowstone, which was inspired by the book and broadcast on A&E Network. He also co-authored the Flyfisher's Guide to Idaho and the Wingshooter's Guide to Idaho with Ken Retallic. He also was on the Statesman’s team that covered the Sen. Larry Craig sex scandal, which was one of three Pulitzer Prize finalists in breaking news in 2007. The National Wildlife Federation awarded him its Conservation Achievement Award.

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