Shawn Thomas

Forestry and Trust Lands Division Administrator
State Forester

Shawn Thomas serves as the Forestry and Trust Land Division Administrator for the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation. The Division is responsible managing Montana’s Trust Lands and for planning and implementing forestry and fire management programs.

Shawn was born in Butte, Montana. His childhood was split between Butte and Columbia Falls where his family relocated in the early 1980’s. He studied forestry at the University of Montana with an emphasis in Forest Resource Management.

Shawn’s forestry career started with the Plum Creek Timber Company as a seasonal forester from 1994 through 1999, working on everything from inventory and GIS to timber sale design and layout. In 1999 he went to work as a procurement forester for Thompson River Lumber in Thompson Falls.

Shawn’s first job with the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation was on the Plains Unit in 2003 where he oversaw the Unit Trust Lands Timber Program. In 2006 he was promoted to the Trust Land Program Manager at the Northwestern Land Office. In the fall of 2008, he was selected to be the Chief of the Department’s Forest Management Bureau, working statewide on forest and state land policy issues. In November of 2011, he accepted the position as the Division Administrator for Trust Lands. Trust Lands management in Montana includes programs in real estate, forest management, minerals, and agriculture and grazing.

In 2022, through a reorganization to combine the Trust Lands and Forestry Divisions, Shawn assumed the role of Division Administrator and State Forester which now includes the oversight of Trust Lands, fire protection, forestry assistance, implementing the Good Neighbor Authority, and executing the Montana Forest Action Plan.

Shawn has been married to his lovely wife, Deana, for more than 30 years. They have one teenaged child, Danica. The family spends their free time enjoying the recreation opportunities that living in Montana provides along with travelling to new and interesting places.