Lifetime Service Award

Karl Landstrom
Karl Landstrom
The Public Lands Foundation grants to Karl Landstrom its Outstanding Lifetime Service Award.  The Foundation provides this award annually to deserving members who have perpetuated and enhanced the proud tradition of public service particularly following retirement.  Karl exemplifies that tradition through a lifetime of service in managing and protecting the Public Lands.

Born in Lebanon, Oregon, Karl S. Landstrom received the degree of MA in economics from the University of Oregon in 1932. He began his government career in 1935 as a reserve Army officer assigned to the Civilian Conservation Corps in the Pacific Northeast. He continued in 1937 as an agricultural economist in the Department of Agriculture, working on land economics studies in the Western states. After military service in World War II, he continued with land economics research in Oregon and Washington, joining BLM in 1949 as chief of land use planning in its Pacific Northwest region

In 1952 Mr. Landstrom was transferred to the bureau’s Washington D.C. office working on program planning, land classification and land appraisals. He received his law degree from the George Washington University in 1958.

In 1959-60 he served as a legislative consultant to the House Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs. Karl then became one of the few career, non-political BLM Directors during the period 1961-1963.  Landstrom was appointed as assistant to the Secretary of the Interior for land utilization; and from 1966 until 1968 he served as the Department’s member on the Public Land Law Review Commission’s Advisory Council.

Mr. Landstrom retired from government service is 1970. He is retired also from the Army of the United States (colonel, AUS-retired.). In 1971-74 he was a registered lobbyist. From 1975 until 1995 he served on call as an administrative law-hearing officer for the State of Virginia. He is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, the American Legion, the 70th Infantry Division Association, and the Civil Affairs Association, and a Charter Member of the Public Lands Foundation, and is a retired member of the Virginia and District of Columbia bars.   Although Karl retired on paper he continues to this day to be active in natural resources and other public issues.  Often one can read his letters to the Editor in the Washington Post calling attention to faulty Congressional action or on talk radio expounding the true facts of a public issue.

Through his career with BLM and the Department of Interior, Karl has been a man of uncompromising integrity.  As BLM Director, Karl established firm principals but with a light touch. He led BLM to implementing President Kennedy’s Special Message to Congress in 1961 calling for improved resource management of the public lands. It was through Karl’s leadership that many obsolete public land laws were repealed; the Multiple Use Land Classification Act became law and the formation of the Public Land Law Review Commission, which culminated in passage of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act in 1976. He was the ultimate example of a career public servant who earned his way up the ranks through integrity, leadership, and intelligence and to always put the public interest in the forefront of his decision-making.

The Public Lands Foundation is honored to recognize Karl with this Lifetime Service Award.

The award was presented at the Foundation’s Annual Meeting in Denver, Colorado in September, 2006.