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Robert E. Slagle

B.S. Forestry, 1958

Robert E. “Bob” Slagle completed the B.S. in Forestry in 1958. During his student years he was active as editor of the Mont Alto yearbook, The Seedling; as infielder for the Mont Alto baseball team, as a member of the Coaly Society (honorary academic and service group), as editor of the School’s yearbook, Sylvan, and as president of the Forestry Society.

Upon graduation, Bob and his wife Eleanor moved to Kentucky where Bob began employment with the Kentucky Division of Forestry as a service forester. His primary focus was private forestland management assistance. One of his early assignments was reported by the Louisville Courier Journal (1959) and identified his provision of management, harvesting, and marketing assistance to landowners. Bob also led early efforts on the aerial detection of oak wilt disease in his region and served as crew leader on fire suppression efforts.

Bob joined the USDA Forest Service in 1961 as Forester, Timber Management, on the Jefferson National Forest. His primary assignments were timber sales and stand improvement of white pine-mixed oak forests. His work earned him a performance award on timber sales and a Letter of Commendation for wildlife habitat and population surveys.    

In 1964, Bob was recruited by the Monongahela National Forest to join their forces as Assistant District Ranger. There he earned a Letter of Commendation for cooperative work with West Virginia’s state nursery and the Fernow Experimental Forest staff. 

These assignments led to his further advance as Assistant District Ranger, Timber Management and Outdoor Recreation, on the Allegheny National Forest in Ridgway, PA (1967-1977).  In addition to his resident timber and recreation assignments, Bob served as crew leader to an inter-regional fire team, with assignments in Montana and Washington.

Bob’s 10-year stay in northern Pennsylvania permitted him to serve as editor of the Society of American Forester (SAF) Allegheny Section newsletter. In addition, Bob worked with the Kane Experiment Forest staff on research tied to their Ben Roach Silvicultural Workshops. Bob also enjoyed working with hunter recreation groups and conducting wildlife population surveys. These efforts were the basis for another Letter of Commendation on his recreational and wildlife endeavors.

On the community front, Bob served as Scoutmaster and Merit Badge Counselor for the Boy Scouts (BSA), player/manager for the Ridgeway District USFS softball team, and range master/events chairman for the Ridgeway Elk Archers.

In 1977, Bob and Eleanor moved to the White Mountain National Forest, where Bob served as Ranger District Staff Officer for Recreation. His work involved the development of new campgrounds on six areas and included 265 camp sites. He worked closely with private enterprise interests and was responsible for two Alpine private sector partnerships having an annual visitor capacity of 11,000 skiers. He also oversaw the development of 70 kilometers of Nordic ski trails and 150 miles of hiking trails. Prior to his retirement in 1991, Bob wrote the first management plans for the 45,000 acre Pemi Wilderness Area.  

Bob continued to be an active member of SAF in New Hampshire, and he received the society’s Golden Membership Award in 2008. 

Bob also served as a board member to the Plymouth Gardens for All, worked with Plymouth State University toward their Field House Forums, and pursued similar tasks with the Rey Center on senior programs.. He has been an active participant in the literary readers group in Waterville Valley and continues to write poetry. He has served as a summer tour guide in the Polar Caves Park, group leader to the Silver Streaks Ski Club, and volunteer naturalist with the Squam Lakes Natural Sciences Center.

He has never forgotten his Penn State “roots” and has attended most, if not all of the Class of ’58 Reunions. He has contributed to the Penn State Mont Alto Founder’s Trees sponsored by his Class of ‘58. In 2015, he was recognized as a Penn State Mont Alto Distinguished Fellow.

Bob’s son Brian earned his bachelor’s degree in Forest Science from Penn State’s School of Forest Resources (1988). In a “like father, like son” tradition, Brian has devoted his career to the USDA Forest Service.