National Landscape Conservation System Program Manager
California State Office
Hailing from Attleboro, Massachusetts, once known as "The jewelry capital of the world" for its many jewelry manufacturers, Mark Conley's passion for the outdoors and for serving the public shaped his vocational career choice.
His first federal job was as a seasonal forest technician at the Ashley National Forest in Roosevelt, Utah, each year during summer breaks from college. He graduated from the University of Connecticut in 1981 with a degree in natural resource management, then joined the U.S. Peace Corps and spent the next five years in Nepal assisting the Nepalese people with the implementation of a community forestry and reforestation program.
His passion for the outdoors hiking, camping, and backpacking was abundantly satisfied during his years in Nepal where he spent a lot of time hiking at high elevations above 18,000 feet and even made it to the base camp of Mount Everest.
He landed a job with BLM as an outdoor recreation planner in the Palm Springs Field Office upon his return from Peace Corps service. After eight years there, he became the motorized recreation program manager in the California State Office. He transferred to the Eugene District Office in 2003. In 2006, he became the federal lands scenic byways coordinator for the Forest Service in Duluth, Minnesota. Missing the warmth of California, he applied for the NLCS program manager position and was selected in 2009.
His connection to jewelry still prevails, but instead of precious stones, he manages the "crown jewels" of the National Landscape Conservation System in California. The diamonds in the rough include 87 wilderness areas, 72 wilderness study areas, 3 national monuments, 2 national conservation areas, 1 forest reserve, 1 outstanding natural area, 8 wild and scenic rivers and 4 national scenic and historic trails.