Outstanding Public Lands Professional Awards - 1996

Manager/Managerial - Administrative Category

Darrell Sall
Darrell Sall

DARRELL SALL, Bureau of Land Management Resource Area Manager for the Garnet Resource Area, Missoula, Montana has received the Outstanding Public Land Professional Award for 1996 from the Public Lands Foundation.

The Blackfoot River, its tributaries, and the valley in which it flows, are elements of a unique ecosystem.  Located in central Western Montana, this valley encompasses 2-million acres of timbered slopes and wetlands, including 132 miles of the Blackfoot River along with 2,500 miles of tributary streams.  This vast area is managed and/or owned by a variety of interests including the BLM, the Forest Service, the Plum Creek Timber Company, and the state of Montana.

During his BLM career, Darrell has demonstrated exemplary management and stewardship of the public lands.  One of his leadership roles was instrumental in establishing the Blackfoot Challenge, a forum that promotes cooperative resource management to enhance, conserve, and protect the natural resources for present and future generations.

He recognized the need for the Challenge because of the lack of communication between the landowners and other people of the area.  It was apparent that everyone was working cross-purposes, and often against one another.  He initiated the establishment of a core group of individuals that shared a common vision for the Blackfoot.  Darrell persevered in his efforts to convince private individuals of the need to work together and stay involved, and to “sell” his vision.  He was successful in achieving this and the group known as the Blackfoot Challenge was born.

There is no formal membership to this group.  Participation is open to those who support the mission.  The Challenge is organized through a series of committees: (1) Executive; (2) Steering; (3) Private Lands; (4) Information; (5) Legal; (6) Public Relations; (7) Resource; and (8) Finance.  Darrell is a member of the Steering Committee, and is extremely active in the related activities.  The effort has yielded these impressive results:

  • Significant improvement in resource values, while minimizing conflict and non-productive processes.
  • Consensus building.
  • Tailoring solutions to fit the individual situations
  • Facilitating challenge cost share efforts; which accomplished over $20,000 in project work for FY95
  • Promoting cooperation/communication far beyond agency expectations.
  • Developing an assembled land exchange through The Nature Conservancy to acquire a 7.5 mile stretch of the Blackfoot River corridor currently owned by the Plum Creek Timber Company.  The exchange was initiated through a formal agreement consummated on October 15, 1996, which involves over 12,000 acres of land valued at $18.1 million dollars.

The BLM uses the Blackfoot Challenge as an example of a National Performance Review success story in ecosystem management.  In recognition of its Bureau significance, the Challenge was one of the 1994 BLM Summit showcases selected to receive a $10,000 excellence award.