2008 Volunteer Winners (alphabetical order by state)
The Black Canyon Trail Coalition, Black Canyon City, AZ: Since 1969, BLM-Phoenix has been developing the Black Canyon Trail as a hiking, mountain biking, and equestrian trail system in the Bradshaw Mountain foothills of central Arizona. In 2004, volunteers organized the Black Canyon Trail Coalition (BCTC), a non-profit alliance of equestrian, mountain bicycling, hiking, and off-highway vehicle (OHV) organizations, to take up the cause of creating a world-class trail experience in a natural desert mountain setting. Over the course of the 2007 trail-building season alone, BCTC volunteers constructed 2.5 miles of new trail in 15 workdays. This new construction, which connected to the main alignment of the trail in December, represents completion of 50 percent of the system. Among many other contributions, Coalition volunteers also surveyed, staked, designed, and constructed the High Desert Park Trailhead, and coordinated with several administrative entities to link the Black Canyon Trail to High Desert Park. In its short tenure as an organization, the Coalition has been awarded a 2006 Take Pride in America award, as well as local award from the Black Canyon Fire Department, which noted that the Coalition’s “energy and spirit of selfless volunteerism closely parallel those of the volunteer firefighters of the department.”
Bob Cothern and
Mark Watkins, Barstow, CA:
Concerned about mounting trash and increased inappropriate off-highway vehicle use in California’s Calico Mountains area, Mark Watkins contacted BLM-Barstow to propose coordinating a cleanup effort between BLM and the Southern California Land Cruiser Club, to which Mark belongs. The February 2007 project, which began as a small-scale cleanup with a predicted attendance of 50-75 volunteers, grew to be the largest single cleanup event on public lands administered by the Barstow Field Office. A total of 741 volunteers collected nearly 13 tons of trash, including four tons of metal for recycling. They pulled out five abandoned vehicles, posted signs for two kiosks, and also signed several miles of trail. The on-the-ground work accomplished represented over 6,000 hours of volunteer labor. In-kind contributions for t-shirts, food and raffle prizes exceeded $60,000
. As Mark put it, “This wasn’t a marketing campaign for any club, organization, or corporate manufacturing group. It was solely about cleaning up the Calico Mountains.” The “Calico Cleanup” now has its own website to promote upcoming volunteer projects; thanks to the outstanding results of Mark’s coordination efforts, the event will now be held annually.
Brent Owen & Kimberly Hawkins, Redding, CA:
Brent Owen, a former city planner and developer, volunteers his knowledge and experience to plan and engineer non-motorized trail systems in the Redding, California, area. In assisting him, Kim Hawkins coordinates volunteer services, including those of hosted workers from the California Department of Corrections. Over the past two years alone, Brent and Kim have been responsible for mapping, designing, and building 18 miles of trail within BLM’s Interlakes Special Recreation Management Area (SRMA), providing opportunities for hikers, mountain bicyclists, and equestrians to enjoy the rugged terrain and learn about its historic significance. The duo’s work has been instrumental in BLM’s implementation of provisions of the Interlakes SRMA Plan, which calls for expanded recreational opportunities for non-motorized users. Brent and Kim designed and helped to build four miles of new trails within BLM’s Swasey Drive Area of Critical Environmental Concern, and have negotiated trail alignments on lands near Shasta Dam that had been previously off-limits to the public. These two individuals, quietly working behind the scenes, have also served as liaisons among the Bureau of Reclamation, the McConnell Foundation (a private philanthropic organization), the City of Redding, and BLM’s Redding Field Office to develop trail projects on lands with diverse jurisdictions.
Ken Emory, Montrose, CO:
In April 2007, Ken Emory signed up to work as a volunteer at the BLM/U.S. Forest Service visitor center’s front desk. After attending orientation training, he went to work and promptly recruited four more volunteers. Ken’s exceptional knowledge of local four-wheel-drive routes and recreational opportunities has significantly enhanced customer service to visitors. His work on BLM’s Dry Creek Travel Management Plan encouraged thoughtful citizen involvement; he assisted BLM staff at public meetings with maps and answers to route questions posed by attendees. He also coordinated and worked as part of the Western Slope Four Wheelers on several Uncompahgre Field Office projects, including signing, cleanups, clearing of routes, and sponsorship of an Adopt-A-Trail ride on the popular Wave-Eagle Jeep Trail in celebration of National Trails Day. Group members picked up trash, installed signs, brushed the route, and constructed barricades to prevent all-terrain and full-sized vehicles from entering single-track motorized routes. Ken spends long hours in his jeep surveying public lands; he truly shines in outdoor encounters with visitors, gladly answering questions, providing information and directions, and helping to educate them about outdoor ethics.
The 341st Security Forces Group, Ft. Benton, MT: The Fort Benton River Management Station’s partnership with these Malmstrom Air Force Base volunteers owes its beginnings to a humble tailgate brainstorming session. The Station, which serves visitors to BLM’s Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument, had a particularly limited budget and sparse seasonal staff at the time. Volunteers from the 341st stepped up to essentially double BLM’s capability to conduct river patrols. In addition, they cleaned facilities, made visitor contacts, registered boaters, conducted Wilderness Study Area surveillance, and performed campsite maintenance. They erected identification signs at 19 remote campsites along a 149-mile stretch of the river, dismantled livestock exclusion fencing, and assisted with seasonal campground closedown operations. Further, 124 members of this unit pulled down unserviceable barbed wire fencing and posts, filled holes, and transported rolled wire cross-country to designated collection points as part of an ongoing habitat improvement project. BLM had expected the project to take several years to finish; with the assistance of the Malmstrom volunteers, 95 percent was completed in 2007. Now, the reputation of the 341st Security Forces Group has spread: having seen the outstanding work done along the Upper Missouri, BLM-Butte has recruited these volunteers to perform campground work and erect a livestock exclusion fence near the Humbug Spires Wilderness Study Area.
Colonel Steve Asher
Chief Master Sgt. Larry Wilson
Brian Doyal, Carson City, NV:
Brian Doyal has been involved with BLM-Carson City as a volunteer, public land steward, and advocate for shared use and responsible off-highway-vehicle (OHV) recreation. He was instrumental in the founding of the Pine Nut Mountain Trails Association (PNMTA), whose members are users of motorized and non-motorized trails dedicated to keeping public lands available for public use. Brian is a past president of the PNMTA, has represented OHV interests at local trail planning workshops, and is participating in the legislative process as the State of Nevada explores OHV registration programs. He also developed and has hosted PNMTA’s “Nevada Trails Television Show,” a half-hour television program that features interviews with local recreation leaders and special-event promoters, as well as product reviews and safety tips related to a wide variety of outdoor recreation activities. With Brian’s guidance, the PNMTA has received State and Federal grants to build trail information kiosks at several area locations. He and other PNMTA members have also organized annual cleanups, removing tons of garbage and hauling abandoned vehicles from BLM public lands. PNMTA volunteers also educate other recreationists about proper land use ethics in an effort to mitigate resource impacts.
Harold (“Scott”) Richardson, Kanab, UT:
Four years ago, Scott Richardson’s interest in fossils led him to volunteer with the paleontology program of BLM’s Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument (GSENM). Since then, he has donated a minimum of 500 hours per year working in the field and in the lab. Scott cheerfully endures extremes of weather and terrain as he roams the vast Monument lands. In 2006, he discovered a complete skull and partial skeleton of a new type of ceratopsid dinosaur. Almost unbelievably, in 2007, he followed up that find with another skull of the same kind of animal; Scott’s discoveries comprise the only two known specimens in existence. In addition, Scott has documented hundreds of important new vertebrate fossil sites, including several relatively complete dinosaurs skeletons with soft tissue (skin impressions) preserved. His work in the lab is no less exceptional; he has been responsible for preparing important specimens for both research and public exhibit. He also took the initiative to negotiate a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Geological Survey in his hometown of Flagstaff to enable him to continue his BLM volunteer work while also maintaining his “real” job at a local ski resort. Without a doubt, Scott’s contributions have been critical to the success of the Monument’s paleontology program.
Winning BLM Employee
Doug Huntington, Eugene, OR:
Doug Huntington has been proactively directing the volunteer program in BLM’s Eugene District’s for the past 18 years, providing outstanding oversight and management. During 2007, Doug coordinated the services of 353 volunteers, who contributed more than 30,000 hours of time to the public lands. For example, Doug’s continuing efforts with an alternative high school’s “Life Skills” program and the outstanding “KidsArt” program have enabled participating students to volunteer several thousand of those hours. Among other 2007 volunteer initiatives, the District also participated in National Wetlands Month, National Trails Day, and National Public Lands Day, with Doug shouldering the primary responsibility for these interagency partnership events. Doug makes it his business to know the District’s volunteers as individuals, match unique volunteers with unique opportunities, and ensure that the efforts of both volunteers and volunteer supervisors are recognized. In 2007, Doug also stepped forward to assist the Oregon/Washington State Volunteer Coordinator with preparation of the Volunteer Program Annual Report, coordination of volunteer background checks, and volunteer coordinator training. He also serves as an active member of BLM’s Volunteer Program Adjunct Team, which assists the headquarters program staff in addressing technical and policy matters related to the BLM Volunteer Program.