The Kisatchie National Forest Supervisor manages 605,000 acres of forest across seven parishes and over 200 employees.
“It’s a monumental job and I think about this small town girl done good,” Jim Caldwell, Kisatchie National Forest Public Affairs, Recreation, Heritage and Staff Officer, said about Lisa Lewis, Kisatchie National Forest Supervisor.
“She went to Louisiana Tech, moved around a bit and has come back here as a forest supervisor,” Caldwell said. “That doesn’t happen very often.”
Lewis is a Leesville native who graduated from Leesville High School.
She is getting ready to take on a 120-day placement as Forest Service Liaison for the Department of Agriculture in Washington, D.C.
She will be working alongside the Under Secretary of Agriculture for Natural Resources and Environment.
The Under Secretary is appointed by the President of the United States with the consent of the Senate.
The Forest Service Liaison position that Lewis will take over later this month is a rotating assignment, filled by nominations made by the Under Secretary.
“This job carries awesome responsibility and no one could be better prepared than Lisa,” Caldwell said. “Her daddy was the county agent here in Vernon Parish. She grew up outdoors, riding horses, helping him with 4-H activities. And she has a master’s degree. So, lots of education and lots of experience from the very beginning.
“She’s been a forester on the ground. She knows what’s going on out there and knows how to get things done.”
Caldwell, who works alongside Lewis, has been with the Forest Service for 47 years. He is from Mississippi and came to Kisatchie to serve as Fort Polk Liaison to the United State National Forest Service (USFS).
“The Forest Service is all about the conservation and wise use of the land,” Caldwell said. “There are many protected areas, prescribed burning, timber sales and protected animals such as the red-cockated woodpecker, among other endangered species.
“When you look at all of this that we do, who’s in charge of the hiring and getting all those jobs filled to do all this work? It’s Lisa. She’s over all the personnel and all the projects on this national forest.”
Forest supervisor tends to be a male-dominated position but the gap is gradually shrinking. “There are quite a few females nationally in this profession but it’s still a fairly male-dominated position,” Lewis said.
She was one of four women out of 130 graduates from forestry school. She is now one of five women out of 15 National Forest supervisors in the southern region.
Lewis recently co-authored the book “Remembering Historic Camp Claiborne, Louisiana” with James P. Burnett and Douglas J. Rhodes. Among other topics, the book discusses the importance of the Kisatchie National Forest during World War II, as it provided sufficient space for military training purposes.
“We have so many accomplishments and so much to be proud of,” Lewis said.”