Archived Outdoors

Melonas named new head of N.C. national forests

James Melonas James Melonas

Allen Nicholas retired in September after nearly five years in charge of North Carolina’s national forests, and James Melonas will now take his place as forest supervisor for the National Forests in North Carolina. 

“The National Forests in North Carolina are a truly special place and I am honored to have this opportunity to return to North Carolina and the Southern Region of the Forest Service,” said Melonas. “I am excited to reconnect and meet with the incredible employees, partners and volunteers in North Carolina as we work together to steward these wonderful forests.”

Melonas has previously worked as the deputy forest supervisor in North Carolina, working under Nicholas until departing in 2017 for a position as forest supervisor for the Santa Fe National Forest. He has worked for the U.S. Forest Service since 2005, when he got his start as a presidential management fellow. He holds a master’s degree in public affairs with an emphasis on environmental policy and natural resource management from Indiana University. Prior to joining the Forest Service, he served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Malawi. 

Melonas will be based in Asheville and will start his new job Nov. 22, overseeing the more than 1.25 million acres included in the Pisgah, Nantahala, Uwharrie and Croatan national forests. 

Leave a comment

Smokey Mountain News Logo
Go to top
Payment Information


At our inception 20 years ago, we chose to be different. Unlike other news organizations, we made the decision to provide in-depth, regional reporting free to anyone who wanted access to it. We don’t plan to change that model. Support from our readers will help us maintain and strengthen the editorial independence that is crucial to our mission to help make Western North Carolina a better place to call home. If you are able, please support The Smoky Mountain News.

The Smoky Mountain News is a wholly private corporation. Reader contributions support the journalistic mission of SMN to remain independent. Your support of SMN does not constitute a charitable donation. If you have a question about contributing to SMN, please contact us.