PLF member William Mortimer presented the award to Lynch. Joe Meyer and Realty Specialist Randy Sorenson, CFO, were also in attendance.
The PLF honors citizens and organizations annually that work to advance and sustain community-based stewardship on public lands. “This year, we recognize Mr. Lynch and The Conservation Fund and call public attention to individual and group efforts to promote natural resource protection of the Nation’s National System of Public Land,” explained Mortimer.
The North Platte River is an ongoing, multi-year effort that began in 1998. Lynch and The Conservation Fund have been working with the BLM to facilitate acquisitions on lands along the North Platte River, and to develop the infrastructure to enhance recreational use and protect natural resources on those acquired lands. These river front parcels are critical to furthering BLM’s efforts to develop recreation and public access opportunities along the river and allow BLM to protect and enhance the wildlife, fisheries, wetlands, and riparian resources that are present.
The Conservation Fund has been instrumental in negotiating lands acquisitions to fulfill the project goals, and has provided substantial funding for both acquisition costs and infrastructure development.
Six acquisitions have been accomplished, of which, four were negotiated by The Conservation Fund. With The Conservation Fund’s ability to pre-purchase land, several key properties were acquired and held until BLM funding could be obtained. The Conservation Fund was also instrumental in instigating measures for resource protection on the properties. These measures often motivated additional conservation minded groups to join in the greater project with funds, material, and labor.
With The Conservation Fund’s help, BLM has been successful in developing recreational facilities and enhancing opportunities on the river, conserving wetlands and riparian areas, improving fish and wildlife habitats, providing interpretive facilities, and in carrying out meaningful youth education and involvement in managing public lands.
Thanks in large part to The Conservation Fund, over six miles of frontage on the North Platte River have been committed to preservation forever, and over 1,000 acres of fish and wildlife habitat are destined to be managed in harmony with the unique recreational opportunities that are only in the river corridor.
The Public Lands Foundation is a national nonprofit organization, which is made up predominately of retired Bureau of Land Management employees, that advocates and works for the retention of the National System of Public Lands in public hands, professionally and sustainably managed for the responsible common use and enjoyment of the American people.
The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. In Fiscal Year (FY) 2011, recreational and other activities on BLM-managed land contributed more than $130 billion to the U.S. economy and supported more than 600,000 American jobs. The Bureau is also one of a handful of agencies that collects more revenue than it spends. In FY 2012, nearly $5.7 billion will be generated on lands managed by the BLM, which operates on a $1.1 billion budget. The BLM's multiple-use mission is to sustain the health and productivity of the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. The Bureau accomplishes this by managing such activities as outdoor recreation, livestock grazing, mineral development, and energy production, and by conserving natural, historical, cultural, and other resources on public lands.