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October 19, 2016


Former Employee Appointed Interim State Forester

     Former Alabama Forestry Commission (AFC) employee Gary M. Cole of Excel has recently been appointed as Interim State Forester by Governor Robert Bentley. He will serve in this position until a new State Forester is selected. During his previous 38-year career with the AFC, Cole served in various positions including Southwest Regional Forester and Forest Management Division Director before retiring in 2014.  

     Cole began his career as a Forest Ranger I in Monroe County. Over the years he held positions throughout the Ranger class and later the Forester class. As one of about nine AFC employees, he piloted a co-op program that sent Commission personnel back to school to earn degrees in forestry. Cole earned his Bachelor of Science in Forest Management at Auburn University in 1985 and is a licensed registered forester in the state of Alabama.

     “It is an extreme honor to return to this outstanding agency that means so much to me. I am not sure how long my tenure will be, but I am dedicated to helping the AFC as much as I can,” said Cole. “Our state is in the midst of a wildfire situation at this time and I fully understand what it takes from our wildland firefighters to protect the lives and property of our citizens. I am proud to serve with these dedicated employees who often put their lives on the line for others.”

     The Alabama Forestry Commission is a state agency committed to protecting Alabama citizens and the state’s invaluable forest assets from wildfires; sustaining Alabama’s forest resources using professionally applied stewardship principals and education; as well as ensuring that the state’s forests contribute to abundant timber and wildlife, clean air and water, and a healthy economy. To learn more about the AFC, visit www.forestry.alabama.gov.