Manager, King Range National Conservation Area
Arcata Field Office
Gary Pritchard-Peterson spends his days in one of the most beautiful corners of California at the King Range National Conservation Area. Established in 1970, KRNCA was the first national conservation area. He has been there since 1992.
He'll tell you, that since he has been there, he does pretty much everything. That includes picking up trash, cleaning toilets, operating the backhoe, building trails, supervising the best staff in BLM, working with scores of great volunteers and conservation non-profits, and writing environmental assessments, management plans, and wilderness plans. "However," he says with tongue in cheek, "the most difficult assignments have been backpacking the Lost Coast to monitor backcountry surfing at Big Flat, or test-riding the Paradise Royale mountain bike trail."
Gary grew up in San Bernardino back when it was mostly orange groves and dairies. "Which changed radically, all at once, during my middle school and high school years."
He went to college at UC Irvine, receiving his undergraduate degree in biological science in 1977, with an emphasis in ecology and evolutionary biology. He went on to receive a masters degree in range and wildlife science from UC Davis in 1983.
He worked seasonally for the US Forest Service while in college in the fire and recreation programs. After college he served in the Peace Corps in El Salvador. After graduate school, he managed a ranch for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, which grew into a job as a range conservationist. He later transfered to BLM Alturas Field Office as a range conservationist. He has worked for the government off and on since 1976 and for BLM since 1988.
"I've worked most of my adult life in remote, wild locations, except for an unpleasant 18 months as a biological technician for the USDA."
Gary lives with his wife of 33 years, Gayle, in Whitehorn, California. He says his greatest accomplishment is his family and successfully raising his daughter Hannah and son Devin.