Lifetime Service Award - 1997

Roger R. Robinson
Roger R. Robinson

The Public Lands Foundation has awarded Roger (Bob) R. Robinson its Outstanding Public Lands Service Posthumous Award.  This award is given for the purposes of perpetuating and enhancing the proud tradition of Public Service in the Bureau of Land Management and in recognizing Bob’s substantial contributions to the improved well-being of the public lands.

Roger R. Robinson ( 1912-1995) devoted his life to the management and protection of public lands.  He started his career in early 1947 as the supervisor of the Alaska Fire Control Service and then joined BLM, when it was formed later in 1947, as Chief Forester for BLM Alaska where he was responsible for the management and protection of all BLM public land surface resources in the State.  He initiated a plan to acquire and construct strategically located facilities and obtained BLM’s first aircraft and expanded BLM’s air fleet at no cost via the acquisition of aircraft surplus to the military.  In 1957 he introduced smoke-jumpers to Alaska.

Bob was a great cooperator with foreign forestry organizations, conducting high latitude forestry.  Alaska forest seed and thousands of cuttings were used with great success in Iceland, Norway, Sweden and Germany.

Bob was the first leader of BLM to bear the title of Alaska State Director and served as such from 1961 to 1965.  He had a  outstanding mind and as State Director he resolved conflicts arising among various publics, in particular involving conservation groups, the petroleum industry and Alaskan natives.

Bob moved to Boise, Idaho in 1965 to develop a centralized fire fighting force much like in Alaska.  Bob brought the departments of Interior, Agriculture and Commerce together to form the Great Basin Support Center, which two years later became the Boise Interagency Fire Center which continues to function today as the National Interagency Fire Center.

Bob was a model of dedication, integrity, probity and patience.  He was highly respected by his fellow workers and was a role model to many.  In addition  the various government agencies, the business community and individual from all walks of life sought his ideas and guidance.  He was the recipient of many awards for his outstanding dedication to the management and protection of public land resources.

Bob attended the New York State Ranger School and received his forestry degree from Syracuse University.

The award was made posthumously at the Foundation’s Annual Meeting in Santa Fe, New Mexico in September, 1997.