Lifetime Service Award

Deane K. Swichard
Deane K. Swichard

Following graduation from college in 1966, Deane went to work for the National Park Service in Alaska.  He served with the U.S. Department of the Navy, Marine Corps from 1968 to 1975.  For his service in Viet Nam, as a Cobra gunship pilot, Dean received the Navy Commendation Medal with Combat “V.”  In January 1975, Deane joined the BLM’s Susanville District Office as the District Staff Wildlife Biologist.

Deane soon became the Surprise Resource Area Manager in 1976.  He was instrumental in the preparation and completion of the Tuledad-Home Camp and Cowhead-Massacre Grazing EISs.

In 1978, Deane moved to the California State Office as Chief of Environmental Planning.  Deane’s efforts were key for the State Office in meeting its deadlines for the completion of numerous geothermal and grazing EISs, and the California Desert Plan EIS.

Deane returned to the field in 1983 as the Folsom Resource Area Manager.  During his 23 years at Folsom, he was tireless in his commitment to improve and protect the public lands.

As Folsom Area Manager, Deane’s major objective was to eliminate illegal occupants on BLM land in Nevada County.  With a TV cameraman present, Deane soon had a bulldozer demolish the structures. Deane next focused his attention on the South Yuba River Recreation Area.  The river was inundated with squatters and marijuana growers.  By the end of the year the last remaining structures were dismantled and burned.

The most dramatic major cleanup took place on the Merced River. It had a history of year round long-term occupancies.  After BLM prevailed in a lengthy legal process to clear the Merced, many truckloads of material, every scrap the trespassers had brought in, was removed.   That section of river is now a prime recreation area with 3 fine campgrounds.  While Deane was at Folsom over 1,000 trespass cases were opened and over 700 were closed.

Early in his tenure as Folsom Resource Area Manger, Deane established a land sale and exchange team to streamline the preparation of lands for disposal.  Deane set goals to complete 100 actions a year. Deane envisioned Folsom Field Office having a wild and scenic river corridor, which was publicly owned and administered by BLM.  Folsom now administers three such river corridors.

Deane saw an opportunity to expand the vision of Cosumnes River Preserve, which at that time was a small valley oak preserve.  Today under Deane’s leadership, the Preserve has grown to 50,000 acres and 9 partners.  It attracts about 50,000 visitors a year.  The Preserve has a state of the art visitor’s center, trails, and boardwalks.  BLM lands are intensively managed for waterfowl regularly attracting thousands of ducks, geese, swans and cranes in the winter season.

Deane was never satisfied to rest on his accomplishments. He always looked ahead for the next opportunity to improve the public lands

Deane has received many, many Special Achievement Agency Awards as well as the BLM’s Superior Service Award.  He also received the 2005 Outstanding Public Lands Manager Award from the 20,000 members of the Sierra Club’s Mother Lode Chapter.

Throughout his public career, Deane has been passionate about leadership.  He has lived it and practiced it, both by example and training.  Deane’s leadership, integrity and achievements during the last 31 years have reflected enormous professionalism and dedication to both the mission of the Bureau and the country he has so well served.

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

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