Lander, Wyo—On Saturday, October 11, the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) will award its 2014 Stewardship Award to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Lander Field Office, led by Field Manager Rick VanderVoet. The NOLS Stewardship Award, presented annually since 1990, recognizes individuals who have demonstrated exceptional stewardship of public lands and the environment.
NOLS chose to honor the entire Lander Field Office staff for their advocacy for permitted and private recreation and for the thoughtful approach they brought to their resource management plan, finalized this summer. The plan was created with an eye toward preserving the unique aspects of the lands under the Field Office’s jurisdiction, which includes public lands from the Shoshone National Forest boundary to Muddy Gap and from the Dubois Badlands to Sweetwater Canyon and Green Mountain.
“The staff at the BLM Lander Field Office have always been great to work with and have supported our program consistently,” said Andy Blair, NOLS Rocky Mountain assistant director. “More broadly, the Lander Field Office has done an exceptional job of balancing conservation, recreation, and energy development across the landscape they steward. This is a special slice of public land.”
This plan sets a high conservation and recreation standard through efforts to preserve landscapes like Red Canyon and National Conservation Lands like the historic Oregon Trails corridor, protect sage grouse, maintain scenic viewsheds for travelers and recreationists alike, proposals to withdraw unique areas from mineral development and create well-considered recreation zones. It will surely be the measure against which future BLM plans across the West are held.
“This national award is a tremendous honor for the Field Office,” said Rick VanderVoet, BLM Lander field manager. “It is especially meaningful because it comes from our partners in the community.”
The Lander Field Office has been a key public lands liaison for NOLS, overseeing permits for all activities on Wyoming BLM lands, including rock climbing at Split Rock and Sinks Canyon and horsepacking in the Red Desert. Furthermore, staff at the Field Office take an active role in enhancing recreational activities that enhance the quality of life in Lander such as hiking at the Bus Loop or mountain biking at Johnny Behind the Rocks.
Staff at the Lander Field Office have often taken time out of their schedules to meet NOLS students on their courses for public land management discussions and have gone out of their way to ensure that NOLS staff are well briefed on developments within the plan and in the Field Office in general.
Since legendary mountaineer Paul Petzoldt founded the school in 1965, more than 221,000 students have graduated from the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS), the leader in wilderness education. Whether through field-based courses offered in some of the most awe-inspiring locations in the world or classroom-based courses, the school provides transformative educational experiences to students of all ages. Graduates emerge as active leaders with lifelong environmental ethics and outdoor skills. To discover the NOLS experience or to bring a course to your business or organization, call (800) 710-NOLS (6657) or visit www.nols.edu.