BLM announces new West Desert District Manager

WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah — The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is pleased to announce the selection of Mike Gates as the new District Manager for the West Desert District. Gates previously served as the Fillmore Field Manager and in a temporary assignment as Acting West Desert District Manager and will now hold the position permanently.  

“Mike has been a vital team member and leader for BLM Utah, leading task forces and planning efforts that positively change the way we operate as an agency in Utah,” said Utah State Director Greg Sheehan. “Mike has helped to build a highly effective team in the West Desert District and his friendly and collaborative approach to land management has built positive relationships with our partners, stakeholders, and other agencies.”  

As District Manager, Gates will manage 7.7 million acres of public land in northwestern Utah overseeing the Salt Lake and Fillmore field offices. Much of the district is located within the Great Basin, a place of isolated mountain ranges separated by desert playas and wide-sweeping sagebrush flats. The district is also home to 86% of Utah’s population which naturally creates complex management challenges.  

“I am humbled to serve and committed to building and maintaining a successful team in the West Desert District,” said West Desert District Manager Mike Gates. “I look forward to working with my team on innovative ways to support the BLM’s multiple-use mission and meet the needs of the growing Utah population.”   

Gates began his federal career in the 1990s as a seasonal wildland firefighter and then a Range Technician with the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest. In 1999, Gates joined the BLM as a Range Management Specialist in Tonopah Field Office before transferring to the Salt Lake Field Office. In 2008, Gates became the Salt Lake Field Office Assistant Manager for Renewable Resources and oversaw major changes in range, wild horse, and wildlife management. Gates most recently served 10 years as the Fillmore Field Manager spearheading major projects, such as the Sevier Playa Potash Project, Cosmic Array Research Project, and Magnum Storage Project. Gates has always seized opportunities to grow; he detailed into the West Desert District Manager three different times and also had a four-month assignment as the BLM Utah Deputy State Director for Resources.  

Gates grew up in Holden, Utah and is familiar with the importance of public lands to Utahns. He graduated from Utah Valley University with an Associate Degree in 1996 and from Brigham Young University in 1999 with a Bachelor of Science, Rangeland Ecology Emphasis and Anthropology Minor. Gates has been married for 25 years and is a proud father of four. When not working, he enjoys horseback riding, serving his church, attending his children’s sporting events, and spending time with his dog, Blue.  

For additional information, please contact Assistant District Manager Trent Duncan, at 801-977-4300. Persons who use a telecommunications device for the deaf may call the Federal Relay Service (FRS) at 1 (800) 877-8339 to leave a message or question for the above individual. The FRS is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Replies are provided during normal business hours. 

This year, we invite everyone to reimagine your public lands as we celebrate 75 years of the BLM’s stewardship and service to the American people. The BLM manages approximately 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The agency’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. 

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Bureau of Land Management


Hannah Lenkowski