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USDA names Schwarzenegger honorary forester

2013_1101_ArnoldSmokey Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, center, was honored Wednesday at the Agriculture Department as an honorary forest ranger by U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell, left, and Forest Service mascot Smokey Bear. Schwarzenegger was honored for implementing the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 and continued leadership on climate change since leaving office. (USDA/Bob Nichols)


The U.S. Forest Service has named former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican, an honorary forester.

“Governor, you have been a true global leader in the fight against climate change, a true friend to the planet’s forests,” U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell told Schwarzenegger at an event Wednesday at the Agriculture Department in Washington, according to a transcript provided by USDA.

“I’d like to present you with a Forest Service jacket, complete with a badge and a plaque that’s commemorating today’s designation,” Tidwell said. “And you also get the honorary Smokey Bear.”

“For me to receive this award and to be one of the rangers, I mean it really touches my heart,” Schwarzenegger replied. “So I just want to say thank you very much for this great, great honor. Thank you and I’m looking forward to working with you in the future.”

Schwarzenegger said he learned the value of the Forest Service when he was governor of California, but said he is also concerned about climate change.

“Over the last 30 years we now have 60 percent more land that is burning because of climate change. So this is a tremendous pressure that it puts on everyone and every firefighter,” he said. “The U.S. Forest Service and their firefighters are without any doubt the best firefighters in the world.”

Other honorary foresters are actress Betty White and tree farmer Chuck Leavell.