Lifetime Service Award

Delmar D. Vail
Delmar D. Vail

The Public Lands Foundation has awarded Delmar D. (Del) Vail its Lifetime Service Award.  This Award is given for the purpose of perpetuating and enhancing the proud tradition of Public Service in the Bureau of Land Management, and in recognition of Del’s substantial contributions to the improved well-being of the public lands and all natural resources.

Del Vail had an exceptional and challenging 38 year career with the Bureau of Land Management.    Del became a permanent BLM employee in January 1956 at the Burley District Office in Idaho, starting out as a Range Conservationist.  He quickly demonstrated the capacity to take on more responsible positions.  At Burley he served in the positions of District Fire Control Officer, Operations Division Manager, Resources Division Manager, Malad Resource Area Manager, and Assistant District Manager.  He then moved to the Boise District Office were he served as Assistant District Manage from 1964 – 1967. From there he became District Manager at Cedar City, Utah 1967 – 1969;  District Manager at Folsom, California 1969 – 1971; District and Land Office Manager at Riverside, California1971 – 1976; and then Associate State Director of Wyoming at  Cheyenne. His next assignment was at the BLM’s Headquarters Office in Washington, DC where he served as Assistant Director, Lands and Renewable Resources, and then Deputy Director for Land and Renewable Resources.   In 1983, he transferred to Denver to be the Director of the BLM’s Denver Service Center, and finally he served as the BLM’s Idaho State Director in Boise from 1985 to 1994.

One of Del’s many achievements was bringing management to the BLM lands in the California Desert.  He played a leading role in establishing the Desert Ranger Force, in gaining support and understanding from the diverse public land interest groups, and bringing meaningful management to the vast and heavily used California Desert.

Del played an integral role in the development of the BLM’s “Cauldron” training sessions which were designed to afford BLM employees, who had been with the agency for 3 to 5 years, the opportunity to expand their career.   This helped establish a cadre of employees that benefited the BLM for many years.  He also was involved in organizing a group of managers from throughout the Bureau to serve as instructors at the BLM’s National Training Center in Phoenix.

A hallmark of Del’s career was his care and concern for employees at all levels of the organization.  He helped champion employee development programs such as New Employee Orientation and Wellness and Safety programs.  He placed high trust in his employees and held them accountable.

Del Vail was an excellent leader and mentor.  In recognition of this, he has received various BLM superior awards; the Department of the Interior’s Meritorious Service Award in 1974; the Department’s Distinguished Service Award in 1983; the Presidential Meritorious Executive Award in 1998; and the University of Idaho Distinguished Alumnus Award for Outstanding Career Achievements in 1989.

The Public Land Foundation is honored to recognize Delmar D. (Del) Vail with its Lifetime Service Award, presented at the Foundation’s Annual Conference in Santa Fe, New Mexico in September, 2007.