Lifetime Service Award - 1998

Edward Pierson
Edward Pierson

The Public Lands Foundation has awarded Ed Pierson its Outstanding Public Lands Service Posthumous Award.  The award   is given for the purpose of perpetuating and enhancing the proud tradition of Public Service in the Bureau of Land Management and in recognizing Ed’s substantial  contributions to the improved well-being of the public lands.

Ed Pierson ( 3/17/1908- 7/17/1988) devoted his life  to the management and protection of public lands.  He started his career in 1938 as a “Range Agent” with the US Grazing Service in New Mexico.  His civilian public service was interrupted in 1946 when Ed joined the US Air Force serving in WW II primarily  in England.  Returning from the war, Ed continued his work for the Grazing Service.  Soon thereafter he left the government service to be the manager of the very large private Redd Ranch in Utah.  In 1954 he returned to BLM in the Montana State Office as the Division Chief for Range Management.  In 1957 he became the BLM State Supervisor for Wyoming where he remained until retirement in 1969.

During his tenure as Wyoming State Director the antelope/sheep tight fencing controversy was at its peak.  Thorough Ed’s leadership new fencing specifications were adopted with the agreement  of all sides to the argument.  He also corrected inequities in the oil and gas lottery system which were adopted nationally bringing recognition to the BLM as a stalwart of government fairness.  Ed worked to break down barriers that were separating each program within the Bureau and make each an integral part of the whole. In 1973 Ed was brought out of  retirement to serve on the first Wild Horse and Burro National Advisory Board established by the Secretary of Interior.

Ed had a remarkable gift of selling BLM stewardship and programs.  He effectively bridged the controversial/divergent positions of many public land users and political factions.  He invariable won the respect and support of all participants and always in the public’s interest.  He was a role model in and out of the government.  As a public role model he was admired for his fairness, reasoned justifications and tenacious but gentle enforcement.  As a role model to fellow workers he had the capability and patience to bring out the best in employees.

The award was made posthumously at the Foundation’s Annual Meeting in Park City, Utah in September, 1998.