Toccoa forester Ken Masten honored at state capitol

Ken Masten of Toccoa has been named a Georgia Forestry Commission Outstanding Employee and was recognized by state legislators in a ceremony last week at the state capitol.

Region 2 – which includes Stephens County, named as “2019 Region of the Year.”

"We’re honored that our ‘best of the best’ had an opportunity to be congratulated in the

Georgia House and Senate and by Governor Brian Kemp,” said Georgia Forestry Commission

Director Chuck Williams. “It was a very special day for our employees who’ve gone many extra miles to serve the state, and we thank Representative Lynn Smith and Senator Tyler Harper for coordinating this occasion.”

Annually, the Georgia Forestry Commission reviews performance criteria for Forest

Management units and Forest Protection areas across the state. Groups whose achievements

rank highest are awarded agency honors.

The GFC Forest Management group works to ensure Georgia’s 24.6 million acres of

forestland remains healthy and intact. They provide private landowners with a wide variety of

services that support a productive and sustainable landscape.

Of GFC Forest Management’s five Regions, the 2019 Region of the Year is Region 2,

which encompasses 36 counties in the northeastern part of Georgia. The winner is determined annually by the impact it has on the state, and even the nation, by considering all factors foresters participate in year around to assist landowners. This includes general advice, cost share, stewardship, water quality, protection work (both fire and forest health) and community outreach efforts. Forest Management Region 2’s numerous achievements impacted 113,000 acres, including 131 outreach events, southern pine beetle and emerald ash borer trapping, and numerous training, wildfire prevention and disaster assistance events such as Hurricane Michael recovery support in southwest Georgia.

Outstanding Employees:

Ken Masten, Region 2 Forester, Toccoa;

Glen Maxim, Forest Specialist, Gainesville;

Brandon Merz, Forest Specialist, Tallulah Falls;

Jeff Kastle, Forest Specialist, Gillsville;

Chris Thompson, Forest Specialist, Watkinsville;

Keith Murphy, Forest Specialist, Washington;

Kevin Lee, Forest Specialist, White Plains.

Region 2 counties include: Gilmer, Fannin, Union, Towns, Rabun, White, Habersham,

Stephens, Lumpkin, Pickens, Dawson, Hall, Forsyth, Banks, Franklin, Hart, Elbert,

Madison, Jackson, Barrow, No. Fulton, Gwinnett, Walton, Oconee, Clarke, Oglethorpe,

Wilkes, Lincoln, Greene, Morgan, Hancock, Tallaferro, Washington, Glascock, Warren,



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