The Bureau of Land Management plays a central role in conserving, restoring, and stewarding 245 million acres of some of the most iconic lands: from the Alaskan tundra to the red rock canyons of the West to the lands along the shores of the Mississippi River. Here in Arizona, the agency manages more than 12 million acres of land, including the Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness, Vermilion Cliffs National Monument, and the Las Cienegas National Conservation Area.
Unfortunately, for the last four years, this critical agency has not had a Senate-confirmed leader in place to manage these lands in adherence to its mission to “sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of public lands” for the use and enjoyment of all Americans for generations to come.
That is all about to change. President Biden has made a superb choice in nominating Tracy Stone-Manning to lead the agency that is so important to outdoor enthusiasts, small businesses, conservationists, and rural communities. I’ve been lucky enough to work with Tracy through my affiliation with the National Wildlife Federation, where she led the organization’s public lands work. As a Westerner, she not only understands the challenges facing public lands, she also knows the central role these lands play in the lives and livelihoods of hard working Americans. As an avid hunter, she understands how policy decisions around energy development, outdoor recreation, and public access affect wildlife and sporting traditions.
She also has the temperament and management skills necessary to bring together diverse groups of stakeholders in collaborative policy solutions. Prior to her work at the National Wildlife Federation, she served as chief of staff for Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, where she oversaw day-to-day operations of his cabinet and the state’s 11,000 employees, helped broker bipartisan policy through the state legislature, and helped launch the state’s first Office of Outdoor Recreation. She also served as the director of the Montana Department of Environmental Quality where she led the agency’s work stewarding the state’s water, air, mining, and remediation programs. Early in her career, she led a river conservation organization that successfully advocated for hundreds of millions of dollars to clean up the Clark Fork River, one of the nation’s largest Superfund sites. In all of these roles, she demonstrated a firm commitment to making sure our lands and waters are managed for the benefit of all, both now and in the future.
At a time when there is so much divisive politics on a broad range of issues, I think we can all agree that a love of our public lands is something that all Americans can rally behind.
Tracy Stone-Manning has the experience, the vision, and the collaborative nature to ensure that these lands will be stewarded so they will thrive for all of us to enjoy for generations to come — whether we are hunters, anglers, hikers, mountain bikers, bird watchers, business owners, or ranchers.
Scott Garlid is the executive director of the Arizona Wildlife Federation.