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January 17, 2006
Contact: Cindy Wertz (307) 775-6014

National Public Lands Foundation Honors BLM Employees

The national Public Lands Foundation today honored two Bureau of Land Management employees from Wyoming and Arizona for their leadership and professionalism on behalf of the country’s public lands in a ceremony at the BLM headquarters office in Washington, D.C.

Richard Zander, BLM associate field manager in Buffalo, Wyo., was named Outstanding Public Lands Professional Manager for 2005 for his outstanding career as a minerals specialist and for his key role in the development and implementation of complex management plans that carry forward the President’s National Energy Strategy.

The Public Lands Foundation also honored Tim Smith, BLM field manager in Lake Havasu, Ariz., as its Outstanding Public Lands Professional Technician for 2005. The award highlights his significant contributions to the outdoor recreation program during a recent tenure in Sacramento, Calif.

“We are proud of our employees and the lengths they go to ensure the best management of our nation’s public lands,” BLM Director Kathleen Clarke said. “I am pleased the Public Lands Foundation has chosen to recognize Richard and Tim this year.”

Public Lands Foundation President George Lea, who presented the awards, said that Zander has made significant contributions in carrying out the development of coal bed natural gas in the Powder River Basin of Wyoming.

“Richard’s effort to bring divergent interest groups together, to foster common goals, was not an easy task,” he said. “Under intense scrutiny and debate, he worked tirelessly to ensure that BLM had processes in place to not only permit environmentally responsible development, but also achieve proper inspection and enforcement and monitoring of natural gas.”

Lea said that Smith’s award recognizes both his outstanding career with BLM as well as his key role in the development and implementation of several national and statewide initiatives while stationed in California from March 1993 to early 2005 that enhance BLM’s recreation management program.

“Tim has shown great leadership with his chairmanship of the Recreation and Visitor Services Advisory Team, his work on the National Mountain Bicycling Strategic Action Plan and his efforts on BLM’s Priorities for Recreation and Visitor Services,” Lea said. “As a result, Americans can look forward to enhanced recreational opportunities on our nation’s public lands for years to come.”

Lea described the national awards, now in their 18th year, as recognition for actions by professional public land technicians and managers that “constitute special professional achievement, courage, and not simply good performance.”

The two men’s achievement will be permanently inscribed on the "Hall of Fame Award" plaque at the BLM headquarters in Washington, D. C.

“This is another example of professional career employees’ willingness to chart new direction in protecting and enhancing natural resources,” Lea said. “We had many nominations for this award this year, and it is unfortunate that we cannot recognize them all in this manner.”

The Public Lands Foundation is the only national membership organization dedicated solely to the protection and perpetuation of the National Public Lands System under the administration of the BLM. It is a national nonprofit conservation organization whose members are primarily retired and active BLM employees. The full text and photos of this, and other professional awards, and information on all Public Lands Foundation programs and concepts can be found on the Internet at www.publicland.org.

The BLM, an agency of the U.S. Department of the Interior, manages more land—261 million surface acres—than any other federal agency. Most of this public land is located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The Bureau, with a budget of about $1.9 billion, also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM’s multiple-use mission is to sustain the health and productivity of the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. The Bureau accomplishes this by managing such activities as outdoor recreation, livestock grazing, mineral development, and energy production, and by conserving natural, historical, cultural, and other resources on the public lands.