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News Release
Chris Dent, BLM Oregon.
Chris Dent, BLM Oregon.
American Recreation Coalition Honors BLM Employees with Awards Projects, partnerships improve recreation access, conservation (Photo) - 06/02/17

WASHINGTON -- The national non-profit American Recreation Coalition (ARC) this week honored two Bureau of Land Management (BLM) employees from Oregon and Wisconsin for their outstanding efforts to enhance outdoor recreation on federally managed public lands. A Colorado non-profit organization, nominated by the BLM, also won an award.

"The BLM enjoys the services of some of the best civil servants and partners in the country," said Acting BLM Director Michael Nedd. "It is wonderful to have these employees and partners recognized with the American Recreation Coalition's highest honors. These individuals and projects exemplify the BLM commitment to shared stewardship and improved access to recreation on public lands."

The Coalition annually recognizes one individual from each recreation-related federal agency with a Legends Award during the Partners Outdoors Conference, corresponding with the kickoff of June as Great Outdoors Month in Washington, D.C. This award is presented to outstanding federal employees whose extraordinary efforts have expanded and enhanced recreational opportunities, and connected people, especially children and the outdoors, through public/private partnerships.

This year's 2017 Legends Award honors:

Christopher Dent, BLM-Oregon's Recreation and Rivers Program Lead in Portland, Ore., is recognized for his exceptional leadership of recreation sites and Wild and Scenic rivers. Dent helped to ensure that congressionally designated Wild and Scenic Rivers are protected and enhanced by developing an updated national-level training curriculum to educate field staff about the BLM's new Wild and Scenic River management planning policies. He enhanced the Rogue River's visitor services and successfully implemented partnerships to improve public facilities for both river users and permittees resulting in new and improved boat ramps, day use areas, and access for all users. He also improved the Rogue River's float permit lottery, which resulted in more than 6,600 customers served in the first lottery draw, a new record high. His continuous efforts to partner with youth-serving organizations through skills training keeps future generations engaged with public lands stewardship.

ARC also honored a Wisconsin BLM employee and a Colorado non-profit organization with its 2017 Beacon Award, which recognizes exceptional initiatives where new technologies provide improved, cost-effective and creative solutions to recreation program needs.

The recipients of the 2017 Beacon Awards are:

Katherine Kassander, a BLM Natural Resource Specialist in Milwaukee, Wisc., who created the Wisconsin Islands Story Map mobile app that provides visitors with easily accessible information on their smartphones about the recreation opportunities and stewardship needs of more than 500 river and lake islands in Wisconsin. The app, created in partnership with the non-profit organization American Conservation Experience, can be used for trip planning and provides the public with information about BLM volunteer opportunities. It has also increased public awareness of the BLM's stewardship role in the northeast and has become so popular that the BLM is now creating a similar Story Map for BLM islands in Minnesota.

Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado, a non-profit group, whose goal is to motivate and enable people to become active stewards of Colorado's natural resources, won for its work to develop a mobile app called YourCO, which features a BLM badge called "Public Lands Champion." The Public Lands Champion badge encourages and rewards youth and adults for gaining knowledge and experience about Colorado's public lands through a range of activities. It also promotes BLM youth initiatives such as the Junior Ranger Program and Junior Explorer booklets. The group, nominated by BLM Colorado, worked with BLM employees in Denver to make this app available to the public.

The Partners Outdoors program was initiated in 1992 to draw together leaders from federal recreation agencies and the recreation industry to accomplish two goals: (1) to reinforce an awareness of shared customers and interdependence of the public and private sectors and (2) to catalyze partnership-based actions to better serve recreation visitors to public lands. The BLM is a long-time member of Partners Outdoors along with ARC, seven other federal agencies and numerous private sector partners.

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.