Outstanding Public Lands Professional Awards - 1992

Manager/Managerial - Administrative Category

Dave Little
Dave Little

DAVE LITTLE, Manager of the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Vernal District in northeastern Utah, has been named Outstanding Public Land Professional for 1992 by the Public Lands Foundation.

Foundation President George Lea announced the selection, crediting Little with outstanding work as the driving force behind the Book Cliffs Conservation Initiative.  The initiative involved, among other elements, the acquisition of four private ranches for sale on the open market to establish the area as a multiple use show case with management emphasis on wildlife, fisheries, riparian, and recreation values.

Dave demonstrated uncommon leadership and dedication over the past two and a half years to bring together a working partnership of the BLM, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, the Nature Conservancy, and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.

“This has not been easy,” Lea said.  “Dave has shown exemplary personal courage and risk taking in seeking consensus among groups with strongly divergent opinions about the management of the area’s 450,000 acres of public, state, and private lands.  In an era when conservation groups and public agency land managers are frequently at odds, Dave’s activities are a shining example of how a skilled professional and a cooperative approach can create a “win-win” situation for all involved.”  Little was nominated by The Nature Conservancy for the award with supporting documentation from other groups.

The Vernal District includes about 1.7 million acres and one million sub-surface acres of public lands in three Utah counties and is an important energy producing area.  This makes management of the public lands very complex and often controversial, which adds to the difficulty of assuring public access, management of livestock grazing, and energy development.  Dave met with all local groups and county commissioners and congressional staffers and “took the heat” even though at times he stood alone.

“This is another example of a professional land manager’s willingness to chart new directions in natural resources management to accommodate changing public values and interest.  Little will be traveling to Washington, D. C. to accept the award.  Little says, “While it is gratifying to have this type of personal recognition, the real satisfaction comes with the broad, enthusiastic acceptance of the initiative locally, within the state.  The partners have been outstanding to work with and, because of the efforts of all involved organizations, the initiative is well on its way to becoming a reality instead of a concept.”