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Montan State Office
Release Date: 05/25/12
Contacts: Craig Flentie (406) 538-1943    
  Kristen Lenhardt (406) 896-5228    

BLM Honors Montana Couple With 2012 "Making a Difference" National Award

Washington, D.C. – The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) today presented its prestigious “Making a Difference” National Volunteer Awards to four individuals, three couples, one group, and one BLM employee for outstanding volunteer service or volunteer leadership on BLM-managed lands. The volunteers selected for this year’s awards included Craig and Marjorie Purdy, who volunteer for the BLM’s Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument.

The “Making a Difference Award” is an annual award presented by the BLM that recognizes its most exceptional volunteers, whose efforts include trail repair, visitor services, habitat restoration, and many other duties. The award was presented to recipients at a recognition event hosted at the BLM’s headquarters in Washington, DC. The event included remarks from Bob Abbey, Director of the BLM, Carl Rountree, Assistant Director for the BLM’s National Landscape Conservation System & Community Partnerships and Laura Davis, Chief of Staff for Secretary Salazar with the Department of the Interior.

BLM Director Bob Abbey expressed his appreciation for the volunteers’ hard work in helping the BLM fulfill its multiple-use mission. “Our volunteers give us confidence in a bright tomorrow and are an inspiration to us all. We are sincerely grateful for their efforts. ” Abbey said.  “I encourage everyone here to follow our honorees’ shining example of community service."

A national panel of BLM specialists and partner representatives selected the award winners from a record number of nominees submitted by BLM state offices.  The winners were selected for their exceptional contributions to conservation and management on public lands. 

In Fiscal Year 2011 alone, more than 30,000 volunteers contributed over 1.2 million hours of their time in assisting the BLM. That’s equivalent to the work of more than 690 full-time employees.


CRAIG AND MARJORIE PURDY, UPPER MISSOURI RIVER BREAKS NATIONAL MONUMENT, MT:   Craig and Marjorie Purdy had always enjoyed visiting the James Kipp Recreation Area in the Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument, so when they retired, they readily stepped up to serve as volunteer campground hosts there. Little did they know what a year 2011 would be for them, especially as relatively new volunteers. In May, heavy rains came to the monument, just as the area’s record-setting snowpack was melting; it was a recipe for disaster. Closely monitoring the Missouri River’s rising waters, the Purdys kept meticulous records of the flow and ensured that BLM managers and monument visitors were informed of conditions. Eventually, authorities ordered an evacuation. The Purdys’ subsequent actions were nothing short of outstanding. They sounded the alarm, prepared the site for closure, and provided constant updates to authorities, helping to ensure a safe, orderly evacuation and campground closure. Temporarily relocated several miles away, the Purdys continued to travel to the bluffs above the damaged campground to monitor conditions. Meanwhile, more than 100 miles upriver, another BLM campground, Coal Banks Landing, was also in need of assistance. So the Purdys cheerfully packed up for a second time and made the trip. The visitor center contact station at their new “home,” a recently renovated campground, required some finishing touches. Craig, a skilled handyman, built shelving, installed interpretive displays, and maintained the grounds while Marjorie assisted with visitor registration. Thanks to their efforts, the site operated unimpeded during the busy summer boating season. By midsummer, an unexpected staff shortage at yet another campground led the Purdys to pack up once more to head to the remote Judith Landing Recreation Area. This picturesque campground and take-out site proved to be the icing on the cake for the well-traveled Purdys: they immediately fell in love with their new duty station. By season’s end, the Purdys had survived a historic flood, relocated three times, and spent countless hours performing myriad duties with tireless dedication. It’s an understatement to say that as BLM volunteers, the Purdys truly “made a difference.”

For more information about the Upper Missouri Breaks National Monument, go to or call (406) 538-1900.

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM's mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. In Fiscal Year 2015, the BLM generated $4.1 billion in receipts from activities occurring on public lands.

Montan State Office   5001 Southgate Drive      Billings, Montana 59101  

Last updated: 06-28-2012