Lifetime Service Award - 2023

Fran Cherry
Fran Cherry

Fran Cherry

Lifetime Service Award

The Public Lands Foundation grants to Fran Cherry its Lifetime Service Award for excellence in public land management.  The Foundation provides this award to deserving BLM employees who have perpetuated and enhanced the proud tradition of public service.

Fran’s 40-year career with the BLM began in 1967 when he went to work as a Natural Resources Specialist in Vernal, Utah.  After being promoted to Area Manager of the River Resource Area in Vernal in 1970, Fran was selected to attend the University of Wisconsin in Madison to get a Master’s degree in urban and regional planning. After stints in the Colorado State Office as Regional Planner and Branch Chief, Fran transferred to the Washington, D.C. Office in 1981 where he served as Branch Chief for solid leasable minerals.  Other stops in Fran’s career include Roswell, New Mexico, District Manager; Associate State Director in the Montana/Dakotas State Office; and Alaska State Director, where he worked until 2002.  At that time, Fran moved back to headquarters to serve as the Deputy Director for Operations, a position he retired from in 2007.

As an Area Manager in Vernal, Fran faced challenges managing unique energy resources, such as tar sands, gilsonite, and oil shale.  In the planning arena, Fran provided leadership in transitioning from the old Management Framework Plans to Resource Management Plans and EIS’s. As District Manager in Roswell, Fran was instrumental in implementing the first cave management plans.  As Fran moved up he became involved in numerous task forces and special committees and was recognized for his service as State Director and Deputy Director through receiving Department level awards. He contributed to the success of numerous controversial efforts such as wild horse management, the new National Landscape Conservation plans and sage grouse landscape scale planning, to name but a few.  He was also very engaged with his law enforcement rangers and agents, taking firearms and other classes with them.

Fran was a valued mentor to many and was described as “great at recognizing potential and helping people reach their full potential.”  Upon retirement, Fran moved to Highland, Utah with his wife, Patricia, where he enjoys being a father, grandfather and great-grandfather.

The Public Lands Foundation is honored to recognize Fran Cherry with its Lifetime Service Award.

Mary Jo Rugwell, President                                                                           September 25, 2023