Growing up in Rochester as the son of a DNR forester, Forrest Boe spent a lot of time outside. From a young age, Boe knew that he wanted to work in natural resources. Yet, when Boe decided to pursue a forestry degree at University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, his father suggested he consider broadening the scope of his studies. Boe’s father Lloyd had loved his 40-year career as a DNR forester, but in the ‘80s, the competition was stiff, with nearly 200 applicants for a single job in the Division of Forestry. Boe took his father’s advice to heart, and in 1983 he graduated from Stevens Point with a degree in natural resource management with a planning emphasis and a minor in soil science. This broad background has served Boe well, equipping him with a breadth of skills which have allowed him to work in a diverse set of roles across Minnesota. In 2012, Boe took on his current position as Minnesota State Forester and Director of the DNR’s Division of Forestry, a full circle journey back to his roots.
Before joining the Division of Forestry, Boe worked for the Division of Trails and Waterways in Rochester, Lanesboro, Brainerd, and Bemidji before moving to the DNR’s central office in St. Paul, where he oversaw the integration of two divisions – Trails and Waterways and Parks and Recreation – into the Division of Parks and Trails. When asked which of these roles he most enjoyed, Boe says, “That’s like asking a forester if they have a favorite tree! I have loved every job I’ve had and enjoyed every location. I’ve learned so much from every single one of the opportunities I’ve been given – it’s been a great journey.”
Throughout his career, Boe has excelled at connecting with the people around him – from other DNR employees to the Minnesotans he serves. Boe honed these skills early on as a development specialist working on the Root River Trail, a 42-mile trail which begins in Fountain and runs through the small communities of Lanesboro, Whalan, Peterson, Rushford, and Houston in southern Minnesota. In conversation with the landowners and farmers whose property would be crossed by the trail, Boe worked hard to understand their diverse needs and interests. This ability to listen and move forward collaboratively has served Boe well over the years. As Area Supervisor of Trails and Waterways in Brainerd, Boe oversaw the DNR’s efforts to create public access to lakes and to develop ATV trails, both hot button issues. Yet, Boe’s ability to work with folks allowed him to successfully direct these efforts, which he fondly recalls as “big milestones.” According to Tom Landwehr, former DNR commissioner, in an article for Duluth News Tribune, “[Boe] has a long track record at the DNR of working closely with industry groups and citizens on complex issues… He has demonstrated outstanding leadership at every place he has worked within the agency.” Bob Krepps, former director of St. Louis County’s Lands and Minerals Department, agrees, saying of Boe: “He has the personality to reach out.”
On the Council, Boe provides insight on key forestry issues as the DNR representative. As State Forester, Boe oversees 5.6 million acres of state land or about 11% of Minnesota’s landbase – a position which allows him a unique perspective on the challenges, and the potential solutions, faced by forests today. As he looks to the future, Boe says, “The Council’s work around climate has been interesting and rewarding. I’m looking forward to more of that type of work and helping the Council through that… I hope that we continue to build on all the best management practices we have in place… Our work there is critical.”
To connect with Council member Forrest Boe, contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Minnesota Forest Resources Council exists to support and advocate for Minnesotans like you! Please join us for our bimonthly public meetings, with Zoom links available via our calendar. We hope to see you there.
Boe representing the Division of Forestry at the Minnesota State Fair in 2017.