New forest supervisor named for Rio Grande National Forest


Dennis Kuhnel has been appointed as forest supervisor of the Rio Grande National Forest.

Kuhnel began serving in the role on Feb. 12.

A native of northwestern Nebraska, Kuhnel attended Colby College and earned graduate degrees from the Universities of Iowa, Nebraska, and a juris doctorate from the University of Kansas School of Law, where he specialized in natural resources law.

Kuhnel’s career had him working in academia and for different federal agencies such as the Bureau of Land Management, Forest Service and National Park Service in cultural resources, education and interpretation, and recreation.

Kuhnel previously served as the district ranger for the Middle Fork Ranger District on the Salmon-Challis National Forest in Idaho and, most recently, for the Canyon Lakes Ranger District on the Arapaho and Roosevelt national forests and Pawnee National Grassland in northern Colorado.

“I am honored to be joining the Rio Grande National Forest team and look forward to helping steward the diverse landscapes and important resources it manages,” said Kuhnel. “I am equally excited and honored to work with the communities and Tribal partners that we serve.”

Kuhnel extended his appreciation for Deputy Forest Supervisor, Andrew Kelher, for providing quality leadership while the position was in transition. “I am thankful for Andy’s commitment to the Forest and his strong leadership skills.”

Dennis and his wife Katy have four children.

For information on the Rio Grande National Forest, call (719) 657-3321, visit the forest website, or follow us on our Facebook page or X – formerly Twitter.