Lifetime Service Award

Edward F. Spang
Edward F. Spang

The Public Lands Foundation Grants to Edward F. Spang its Lifetime Service Award for excellence in public land management. The Foundation provides this award to deserving members who have perpetuated and enhanced the proud tradition of public service.

Edward F. Spang has dedicated his life to public land management.  He was born and raised in Lame Deer, Montana.  He graduated from Montana State University in Bozeman, Montana in 1952 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Range Management.  He then served in the U. S. Air Force for two years, obtaining the rank of Captain, remaining in the Air Force Reserves for another 14 years.

Ed began his 41-year career with the Bureau of Land Management in 1954, as a Range Conservationist in Malta, Montana.  From there, he became an Area Manager in Miles City, Montana, and then Assistant District Manager in Dillon, Montana.

From 1962 to 1965, Ed was Assistant District Manager in Vale, Oregon.  Then, for two years beginning in 1965, he was Team Leader under a USAID/BLM Agreement to provide natural resource management assistance in Nigeria, Africa.

Ed spent the next three years in the BLM Headquarters Office in Washington, D.C. as the Assistant Division Chief, Soil and Water Division.  In 1970, he moved to Reno, Nevada as Chief of Resources in the BLM’s Nevada State Office, where he remained until 1975.

From 1975 to 1980, Ed served as the BLM’s Arizona Associate State Director in Phoenix, Arizona.  He was then promoted to BLM Nevada State Director in Reno where he stayed until 1990.  From there he became BLM’s Alaska State Director in Anchorage, Alaska for four years, retiring, in 1995, as a Special Assistant to the BLM Director in Washington, D.C.

Most of Ed Spang’s 41-year BLM career was spent in management/leadership positions, and at all levels in the organization, from Area Manager to District Manager, State Director, and Washington Headquarters Office Division Chief positions, as well as leading a natural resource advisory team on an overseas assignment in Nigeria.

As a manager, Ed aptly dealt with a variety of sensitive and controversial issues including wild horses and burros in Nevada; livestock grazing issues in the Vale Project in Oregon; environmental and wilderness inventory issues in Arizona; and State selections, Native Claims and Native allotments in Alaska.  His leadership style encouraged the development of employees for future leadership by carefully monitoring, freely delegating authority, encouraging open communications, and showing professional interest in those he supervised.  During his tenure as State Director in Nevada he also implemented Coordinated Resource Management Planning to encourage close on-the-ground coordination between public land users and BLM employees in planning and implementation of resource programs.

Ed received numerous performance awards during his career with the BLM, including a Special Unit Team Award for his work in Nigeria, the Department of the Interior’s Meritorious Service Award in 1977, and the Department’s Distinguished Service Award in 1981.  And, in retirement, Ed has been a lifetime member of the Public Lands Foundation.

The Public Lands Foundation is honored to recognize Edward F. Spang with this Lifetime Service Award.

The award was presented to Edward F. Spang by PLF President Ed Shepard at the Foundation’s Annual Meeting in Boise, Idaho on September 10, 2014.