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The Public Lands Foundation held its 2022 Annual Meeting in Grand Junction, Colorado from September 20 – 23, 2022.

Indoor Field Trip 

The weather in the Grand Junction area, normally arid, proved to be challenging with rain and a flood watch forecast that resulted in cancellation of our field trip. Nevertheless, BLM adapted quickly and came to our hotel to present what we would have learned onsite. Greg Larson, District Manager of BLM’s Upper Colorado District Office and Greg Wolfgang, Manager of BLM’s Grand Junction Field Office presented an overview of regional and local programs that they administer with a focus on E-Bike issues. They discussed how they have managed to pilot approval of limited E-Bike use on non-motorized trails on a case-by-case basis, the authorities they used, and the decision-making process. Partnerships and good communication with interested stakeholders, including local government agencies, were critical to successful implementation. 

General Meeting

The theme for our General Meeting was Managing E-Bike Use on Non-Motorized Trails. 

Program Kickoff. PLF president Mary Jo Rugwell began the meeting by welcoming everyone and mentioned that 2022 is the PLF’s 35th Anniversary! She also informed everyone that an updated Memorandum of Understanding between the PLF and the BLM has been signed. The MOU guides how both parties will work together. We also received a warm welcome by video from Grand Junction Mayor Anna Stout.  


Janeth Stancle, Central Regional Director for Senator John Hickenlooper, D-CO, spoke about legislative activities involving public lands issues that the Senator has been involved in as a member of the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.  

  • Program Kickoff - PLF President Mary Jo Rugwell
    Mary Jo Rugwell, PLF President



    PLF president Mary Jo Rugwell began the meeting by welcoming everyone and mentioned that 2022 is the PLF’s 35th Anniversary! She also informed everyone that an updated Memorandum of Understanding between the PLF and the BLM has been signed. The MOU guides how both parties will work together. We also received a warm welcome by video from Grand Junction Mayor Anna Stout.  


  • BLM Update - BLM Director Tracy Stone-Manning
    BLM Director Tracy Stone-Manning

    BLM Update. BLM Director Tracy Stone-Manning. Director Stone-Manning spoke before the group and answered questions about the BLM. She highlighted her Montana roots and love of backpacking and hunting. Before coming to the BLM, Stone-Manning served as both a senior advisor for conservation policy and associate vice president of public lands at the National Wildlife Federation. Before joining the federation, she served as former Montana Governor Steve Bullock’s chief of staff, where she helped broker bipartisan legislation. She also served as director of Montana’s Department of Environmental Quality and as a senior advisor to Montana Senator Jon Tester.  

    The Director was in Grand Junction for the BLM Executive Leadership Team meeting. She reminded us that while it is important to be in Washington, DC, the real work gets done in the field. She identified her priorities for the BLM as rebuilding the BLM, especially its Headquarters, after the last administration’s headquarters move. She is seeking to replace as much of the institutional knowledge as possible that was lost with those employees that chose to leave the agency rather than relocate. She identified this as an area that the PLF can help with. In addition, she mentioned a continued workforce shortage with about a 20 per cent vacancy rate in current positions. 

    Climate change and its relationship to BLM’s multiple use and sustained yield mission continues to be a priority. Landscape health and building resiliency into our public landscapes is a key component and we can expect to hear more about this soon. The Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act are providing the Nation with the largest investment in climate resilience and restoration, she said.  

    Recreation is a growing program. In fact, the Director characterized the BLM as a recreation agency with 80 million visitors last year. During the COVID pandemic, many Americans relied on their public lands and facilities to get out of being quarantined and get with nature. BLM’s Conservation Lands and Partnership program is developing a long-term recreation strategy.  

    Clean energy is an emphasis of President Biden and Secretary Haaland. The BLM continues to expect more solar, wind, and other clean energy proposals as America moves towards a carbon-free electricity sector. The Energy Policy Act calls for production of 25 gigawatts by 2025 from clean energy sources. The Director mentioned that the BLM wants to ensure that no communities are left behind as new technologies develop. 

  • BLM District Overview - Greg Larson, District Manager


    Greg Larson, Manager of BLM’s Upper Colorado River District Office provided an overview of the office’s jurisdiction, lands and programs. The Upper Colorado River District Office manages 1.85 million surface acres. The district is comprised of the Grand Junction and Colorado River Valley field offices and encompasses 4 million acres of subsurface minerals. The BLM’s Upper Colorado River District includes several specially designated areas, including McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area and the northern portion of Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area. The Little Book Cliffs Herd Management Area is located within the Grand Junction Field Office. Wildland fire is a major concern in this arid area. In past years, the district has seen two major wildfires: the Storm King and Pine Gulch fires. The interagency fire program is based in Grand Junction and includes a tanker base and smoke jumpers. The Grand Junction Field Office manages what has become a major tourist destination for trail hiking and biking. It has an oil and gas portfolio as well as significant grazing allotments. Recently, virtual fencing has been tested for grazing as an alternative to constructing and maintaining physical fences. Cows that try to cross outside their boundaries receive a shock like those from invisible fences that many pet owners use. This has the potential for significant cost savings to the livestock industry.  

  • John Freemuth Student Congress 2022 - Jim Caswell, National Association of Forest Service Retirees
    Jim Caswell, National Association of Forest Service Retirees


    Jim Caswell, Ex Officio Board Member and former BLM Director represented the National Association of Forest Service Retirees (NAFSR). In that capacity, he has served on the Student Congress committee and provided an update on the 5th Student Congress, which was subsequently held in Boise. The theme for the John Freemuth Student Congress was Wildland Fire. The goals of this program are to: educate our youth on the history and current issues related to public land management; engage students in providing input into the future of these lands; and expand potential career consideration and enrich student resumes. There were 103 applications from 53 universities or colleges this year, including two from Canada. Twenty-five students from 21 universities were selected to participate. The PLF, NAFSR, and Andrus Center at Boise State University were able to obtain funds from the BLM, the Forest Service, and other organizations in addition to your generous donations to fund the event. 

  • Significance of recreational trails from the standpoint of the local economy - Steve Jozefczyk, Deputy Director, Grand Junction Economic Partnership
    Steve Jozefczyk, Deputy Director, Grand Junction Economic Partnership


    Steve Jozefczyk, Deputy Director of the Grand Junction Economic Partnership presented data on the significance of recreational trails from the standpoint of the local economy. His data showed both direct and indirect benefits from jobs created by the upswing in recreational activities on public lands in the Grand Junction area, and some of the challenges as well such as the need to provide affordable housing to attract employees. He mentioned one positive benefit over the last two years from the pandemic was the increased visitation on the trails in the local community for recreation.

  • Reflections on BLM challenges and accomplishments - Kathy Hall, former Mesa County Commissioner, BLM Resource Advisory Council (RAC) member, and President of Club 20
    Kathy Hall, former Mesa County Colorado Commissioner


    Kathy Hall, former Mesa County Colorado Commissioner provided her perspective on working with the BLM over many years as a county commissioner and Resource Advisory Council (RAC) member, particularly on public lands access. She was present when then-Secretary Babbitt established the RACs, which began in Grand Junction. She emphasized the importance of building local community relationships, especially when land exchange issues need to be addressed.  

  • Managing E-bike Use on Non-motorized Trails - Panel Discussion
    L-R Greg Wolfgang, Jack Placchi, Don Simpson, Scott Winans, Craig Grother, and Niccolle Gaddis-Wyatt



    The afternoon panel discussion led by PLF Vice President Don Simpson focused on Managing E-bike Use on Non-motorized Trails. Panelists included Jack Placchi, former BLM CO Travel and Transportation Specialist. Jack spoke about the process for implementing the Secretarial Order to allow e-bikes on certain BLM trails. This was done largely under existing authorities such as amending the OHV regulations and through the NEPA process. He urged that E-bike use be considered as part of BLM’s travel management planning process.

    Jim Caswell stated that the Forest Service has issued compatible policies with those of Interior agencies regarding E-bike use, with local forest managers having discretion to decide on whether E-bikes should be used on currently non-motorized trails.

    Scott Winans, Secretary, Colorado Plateau Mountain Bike Trail Association characterized the new E-bike policies as being like a grenade thrown at pedal bicycle users. He stated that there is polarization among cyclists over issues such as relative speed, passing protocols, different classes of E-bikes that appear nearly identical, and signage. He said that implementation could have gone smoother after the Secretarial Order was issued by former Secretary Bernhardt. Additionally, given that trails often cross boundaries between BLM, Forest Service, municipalities, and county ownership, there needs to be better consistency on the signage and rules for E-bike users so that they remain in compliance.

    Craig Grother, Western Colorado Regional Director, Backcountry Hunters and Anglers described his organization’s general position on trail development and use. BHA is concerned about sustaining roadless, undeveloped areas for wildlife hunting and fishing. For example, extensive E-bike use can pose disruption of game animal migration corridors resulting in population decline. BHA is more concerned about planning and implementation of trails and has produced a handbook entitled “Planning Trails with Wildlife in Mind to provide guidance on this issue.

    Nicollee Gaddis-Wyatt, Manager, BLM’s Canyon Country District Office in Utah gave a brief overview of issues she is facing in considering E-bike usage on non-motorized trails in her area. 

Group Photo

  • PLF Annual Meeting 2022 - Grand Junction, CO - 2022 Annual Meeting Attendees Kneeling (L to R) Courtney Lyons-Garcia, Dave Mari, David Wolf, Mary Jo Rugwell, Barron Bail, Tom Allen, Jack Placchi, Greg Wolfgang Middle Row (L to R) Dixie Bibles, Theresa Currivan, Paul Summers, Arlene Mari, Larry Larson, Dave Jones, Michele Jones, Jane O’Connor, Van Manning, Judi Hempel, Deanna LeBarron, Bill LeBarron, Maggie Wyatt Back Row (L to R) George Stone, Dean Bibles, Jim Currivan, Joseph Meyer, Leisl Carr-Childers, Jim Ramakka, Richard Hopkins, John Kwiatkowski, Keith Miller, Smokey O’Connor, Bob Moore, Dwight Hempel, Beau McClure, Jim Caswell, Don Simpson

Barbeque Speaker

  • Zebulon Miracle described some of the pre-history and history of Western Colorado and the Grand Valley where Grand Junction is located.

Silent Auction and Raffle

  • Previewing Silent Auction items

  • Raffle items

  • Silent Auction Items

Awards Banquet

  • Mary Jo Rugwell announces awards

  • Clifford & Phyllis Knapp with Don Simpson

  • Courtney Lyons-Garcia and Jim Caswell

  • Tom Allen and Jim Currivan

  • Cindy and Bob Moore

  • Jane and Smokey O'Connor

  • Jim Ramakka

  • Paul Summers

  • Jon Raby and Dwight Fielder

  • Kathy Pedrick and Larry Emmott

  • Deanna and Bill LeBarron

  • John Kwiatkowski and Bill LeBarron

  • Janice and John Kwiatkowski

  • Dixie and Dean Bibles

  • Beau McClure and jim Caswell

  • Dave Mari and Dwight Hempel

  • Maggie Wyatt and Mary Jo Rugwell

  • Courtney Lyons-Garcia and Dwight Fielder

  • Bob Moore and Richard Hopkins

  • Linda and Larry Larsen

  • Michelle and Dave Jones

Bob Moore – Remembering BLM

Bob Moore, PLF Colorado State Representative remembers BLM



Bob Moore talked about his 40-year career with the BLM.  Bob graduated from the University of Montana in 1955 with a degree in Forest Management and Engineering.  His career started in Coos Bay, Oregon and included tours in Prineville, Oregon as Chief of Operations; the Departmental Training Program and as a member of the Planning & Environmental Coordination Division in Washington, D.C.; Colorado as the State Office Division Chief of Planning & Environmental Coordination; back to Washington, D.C. as the Assistant Director for Coal Management; back to Colorado as the Associate State Director; to the Denver Service Center (now called the National Operations Center) as the Director; and back to Colorado as the State Director, where he retired in 1995.