2011 FEDERAL LAND MANAGER -- BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT - Joe Kraayenbrink

2011 FEDERAL LAND MANAGER -- BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT - Joe Kraayenbrink
Under the exemplary leadership of Joe Kraayenbrink, the Idaho Falls District has become an outstanding example of an organization that is carrying out the goals and objectives of the Take Pride in America program. While it is recognized it takes many dedicated hands and creative thinkers to effectively implement a program like this, those who work with Joe realize that it has been his direction and commitment to his staff and their ideas that has made these accomplishments possible.

The Idaho Falls District, with its four field offices, incorporates over 3.6 million acres. Through Joe’s leadership, the District’s recreation planners have continually found ways to support volunteer efforts, including scouting projects, educational experiences, tree plantings, cleanup efforts and much more. A broad variety of public land projects are occurring throughout the District.

From youth organizations to public land day events, the District is continually striving to promote public lands. For example, through Joe’s commitment, the Idaho Falls District endeavors to hire youth organizations to complete projects in hopes of instilling a love for the great outdoors. Currently, the Great Basin Institute (GBI) and the Youth Employment Program (YEP) are serving vital roles in helping the BLM implement their travel management plan and other field projects. In particular, the groups are important players in completing the Challis Travel Management Plan (TMP). The YEP is a local non-profit organization founded in Lemhi County created to foster an atmosphere of educational development and to provide employment opportunities for young adults in local communities. The YEP mission is to provide young people with first-time structured jobs that teach positive working skills and habits that will serve them throughout their lives. This crew, comprised of 10 to 50 workers, is focusing their TMP implementation attention on five priority areas within the Field Office.

Joe understands that utilizing local organization such as Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops are critical to completing many public land projects. Local organizations help clean recreation sites, build bridges and campgrounds, and sign routes and trails. For example, On September 25, 2010, over 463 Brigham Young University Idaho students, members from the BYU-Idaho 5th Stake and BLM staff ascended on the St. Anthony Sand Dunes to participate in a dunes cleanup for National Public Land Day. Along with over 50 OHV enthusiasts who recreate on the dunes, the volunteers cleaned up litter and debris adjacent to and within the Sand Dunes complex. Using sand sifters, garbage bags and gloves, the volunteers tackled old fire pits and other high-use areas to collect over 2,000 pounds of car bodies, pallet nails, unburned wood, litter and debris within and adjacent to the Dunes. After collecting the debris and litter for 2 hours, the volunteers were treated to an "Appreciation Lunch" and some National Public Lands Day items for their hard work at the private campground Sand Hills Resort. The 2010 event topped previous cleanups as the largest National Public Lands Day gathering ever at the Dunes. Collectively, the volunteers contributed over 1,175 hours of work, saving BLM over $23,000 in cleanup costs.

With Joe’s great care and concern for our public lands, the Idaho Falls District has been able to encourage outdoor ethics and volunteerism in eastern Idaho and engage a larger population base in carrying out our Nation’s Take Pride in America program.