Lifetime Service Award - 2011

Clair (Sam) Whitlock
Clair (Sam) Whitlock

The Public Lands Foundation grants to Clair M. Whitlock its Lifetime Service Award.  The Foundation provides this award to deserving members who have perpetuated and enhanced the proud tradition of public service.  Clair exemplifies that tradition through a lifetime of service in managing and protecting the public lands.

Clair, also known as “Sam,” was born and raised in Utah, in a farming and ranching environment.  He graduated from Utah State in 1953 with a degree in Range Management, having spent his summers doing range inventory and maintenance work for the Forest Service in Utah and Oregon.

He joined the Bureau of Land Management as a Range Conservationist at Shoshone, Idaho in April 1953, and retired from BLM in May 1985 as Idaho State Director at Boise, Idaho.  During the intervening 32 years, he served as Range Conservationist/Range Manager at Shoshone, Salmon, Boise, and Burley, Idaho; District Manager on the Arizona Strip in Arizona, and in Elko, Nevada, and Boise, Idaho; Natural Resource Specialist in the Budget Office of the BLM’s Headquarters Office in Washington, DC; Chief of Resources in the Idaho State Office; Associate State Director for both Idaho and Alaska; and State Director for both Arizona and Idaho.

Clair had many additional assignments throughout his BLM career.  He was a strong supporter of BLM’s fire program and a staunch advocate of integrated fire-resource planning.  He served and chaired committees dealing with fire qualification standards and fire training.

He helped develop training programs for new employees and was the principal author of an integrated training strategy for BLM that was adopted by the agency in 1985.  He served as Chairman of the Fort Union Coal Leasing Team for Montana and North Dakota from 1980 to 1985.  In retirement, Clair has chaired an Aircraft Safety Review Team for the Department of the Interior, served as instructor and counselor for BLM Management Training sessions, and developed and presented Public Land History courses for BLM employees.  He chaired an Ad-Hoc Committee for Birds of Prey activities in the Boise area, and helped establish the Snake River Raptor Volunteers, which serves as a friend for the Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area.  And, he is a Charter Member of the Public Lands Foundation and served as the PLF’s Idaho State Representative for several years.

At the time of his retirement, Clair Whitlock received Interior’s highest award, the Distinguished Service Award in recognition of his contributions to public land management.  The citation that accompanied that award described Clair as a dedicated administrator who has made lasting and distinct contributions through his management and conservation of public lands.

As a senior executive in Idaho, Alaska and Arizona, Clair has been recognized for moving programs of national significance such as the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, State Indemnity Selections, mineral development, wilderness preservation and the Public Rangelands Improvement Act.

Clair Whitlock worked at 10 duty stations during his 32-year BLM career.  In addition to the official awards and recognitions cited herein, he is admired and respected by many friends in many places.

The Public Lands Foundation is honored to recognize Clair M. Whitlock with this Lifetime Service Award, presented this day, September 9, 2011, at the Foundation’s annual meeting in Casper, Wyoming.