Lifetime Service Award - 2015

Charles W. (Bill) Luscher
Charles W. (Bill) Luscher

The Public Lands Foundation grants to Charles W. (Bill) Luscher its Lifetime Service Award for excellence in public land management. The Foundation provides this award to deserving members who have perpetuated and enhanced the proud tradition of public service.

     Bill was born and raised in Montana, where he quickly became an ardent outdoorsman and where his appreciation for the land and its resources began. He graduated from the University of Idaho, majoring in wildlife, range management and natural resource administration. He began his BLM career in 1957 in Winnemucca, Nevada as a range conservationist. He quickly moved into increasingly responsible positions in Elko, Nevada and Idaho Falls, Idaho. Bill earned a reputation as a smart, hardworking leader who demonstrated his care for his employees, his knowledge of natural resources, and his respect for the constituencies BLM served.

     He did a tour on the Range Staff in the BLM’s Washington Office working on new regulations for the BLM’s Range program. While in the Washington Office he did a U. S. Aid Program assignment in Nigeria, and later was a range specialist in a cultural exchange with the then Soviet Union. Both assignments were productive, and due to Bill’s exceptional performance, enhanced BLM’s international reputation in the rangeland management field.

     Bill served as the BLM’s Associate State Director in Colorado in the mid to late 1970s; the BLM’s State Director in New Mexico during 1981 – 1986; and the BLM’s Oregon/Washington State Director from 1986 until his retirement in 1989. In these positions, he helped expand and diversify the BLM’s workforce; helped implement the merger of the Minerals Management Service into the BLM; and provided strong leadership while addressing timber management, spotted owl, job-related, environmental, and other issues.

     Bill Luscher is remembered by many people as a wise, kind man who truly cared about them. Two traits are cited:

· his sincere interpersonal skills, selfless approach, inclusiveness and encouragement of those who worked for him, and

· his astute political skill at maintaining a positive view of the future, rather than a short-sighted, short term and narrow political view of the issues at hand.

     The mark of Bill Luscher’s skills and success can be seen in the large number of people who worked with him, and who eventually became supervisors, managers and executives themselves in the BLM, the Forest Service and the Department of the Interior.

     In retirement, Bill continued to be involved with the BLM and its new employees. For seven years he participated in the BLM’s orientation for new employees – the “Pathways” sessions held at the BLM’s National Training Center in Phoenix – where he continued to develop relationships with new employees to help them become successful in the BLM.

     Bill Luscher passed away on June 9, 2014 in Columbia Falls, Montana.

     The PLF thanks Bill for his exemplary service, dedication and leadership in helping the BLM better position itself to deal with the many issues of the 21st Century.

     The Public Lands Foundation is honored to recognize Charles W. (Bill) Luscher with this Lifetime Service Award, which is presented posthumously.