BLM California presents prestigious Ed Hastey Stewardship Awards

In recognition of their decades of leadership and public service, BLM California has presented its inaugural Ed Hastey Stewardship Award to Outdoor Recreation Planner Stan Bales and Bishop Field Office Manager Steve Nelson. The award, intended to be an annual honor, recognizes employees who embody the spirit of California’s legendary former state director through their exemplary efforts managing public lands and building partnerships that will ensure sustainability and public benefit for generations to come.

Stan Bales rides a bicycle.
Stan Bales rides a bike on the Bizz Johnson National Recreation Trail
which he helped to develop. (Photo by Bob Wick)
 

Bales has spent the past 40 years in the Eagle Lake Field Office in Susanville. He was honored for his leadership in developing the Bizz Johnson National Recreation Trail and for building community support in a project to restore Susanville’s historic railroad depot, now a trailhead and visitor center for the 26-mile “Rails to Trails” corridor. Bales also was recognized for leading community efforts to develop the Fort Sage Off Highway Vehicle Recreation Area in southern Lassen County, a project that helped improve OHV recreation opportunities. In the 1980s, Bales coordinated the BLM wilderness inventory in northeast California, leading to consensus-based wilderness recommendations that were the foundation for the agency’s wilderness recommendations to Congress for the region.

Nelson, a 32-year BLM veteran, received the honor based on high praise from his staff for leadership and collaboration in diverse areas ranging from conservation and habitat restoration to energy development. He was credited for leadership in creating the Bi-State Sage-Grouse Local Area Working Group, a public-private consortium responsible for conserving thousands of acres of sage grouse habitat. He was responsible for assisting a local group that won National Scenic Area designation for the iconic Alabama Hills and led formation of a Forest Service-BLM “Service First” agreement for the eastern Sierra. Nelson brought leadership to BLM California’s geothermal program, leading processes for developing the Casa Diablo IV project that involves a complex system of geothermal production and injection wells, pipelines and power distribution lines that will bring renewable energy to California homes. Nelson’s staff praised him for inspiring them to think creatively and to find ways to work beyond jurisdictional boundaries to manage ecosystems. 

Steve Nelson gives a speech at Alabama Hills.
Steve Nelson is recognized for his leadership and collaboration in diverse areas ranging
from conservation and habitat restoration to energy development.
(Photo by Salah El-Din A Ahmed)
 

Hastey served 22 years as BLM California state director in two appointments, the most recent stretching from 1981 until he retired from Federal service in 1999. He also served as the BLM’s associate director providing critical leadership as the BLM implemented provisions of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act. He is widely admired for setting an enduring collaborative tone in the BLM’s dealings with communities, organizations, state and local government, and stakeholders. After leaving Federal service, Hastey spent 20 years with Resources Law Group, acquiring lands from willing sellers to improve management of parks and wilderness for future generations. He died in February 2020.

Photo of an award placard.
The Ed Hastey Stewardship Award recognizes exemplary efforts managing public lands
and building partnerships to ensure sustainability and public benefit for generations to come.
(Photo by Salah El-Din A Ahmed)

Story by Jeff Fontana, Northern California Public Affairs Specialist. Photos by Salah El-Din A Ahmed and Bob Wick.