Lifetime Service Award - 1999

Gerald Kerr
Gerald Kerr

The Public Lands Foundation has awarded Gerald (Gerry) Kerr with its Lifetime Service Award.  This 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 Gerry’s substantial contributions to the improved well-being of the public lands.

Many consider Gerald (Gerry) Kerr as BLM’s “Father of Range Management.”  He began as a Hearing Examiner in 1934 for the Grazing Service.  He is credited as being greatly responsible for advancing the Range adjudication program.  He was widely recognized as a perfect gentleman, which helped assure success for many range problems.  He was one of the first 20 employees appointed to the Grazing Service after passage of the Taylor Grazing Act in 1934.  He was the first Regional Grazier for Region 1, western Utah.  Gerry was a pioneer in supervising the organization of Grazing Districts and the establishment of Grazing Advisory Boards which began the long and difficult process of providing protection, orderly use and management of the Public Domain.

When BLM was formed from the Land Offices and the Grazing Service, he became BLM’s Chief of Range Management in the Washington, DC Office.  He formulated BLM policy and procedures for range management, wildlife, fire control, range improvement and soil/moisture rehabilitation programs.  Gerry was successful in working with Congressional Committees in explaining programs and the need for operating funds.  He was recognized as the leader in upgrading the technical competence of field personnel. He guided BLM through a host of grazing appeals that established a legal basis for public range management and thus was instrumental in developing the Federal Range Code.

This Award was made posthumously to Gerald (Gerry) Kerr at the Foundation’s Annual Meeting at Billings, Montana in September, 1999.  None of Gerald Kerr’s family could be located, so the Citation was read at the Foundation’s banquet by Bill Mathews who worked for Gerald Kerr on the Range Staff in the BLM’s  Washington Office.