Name: Hunter Seim
Occupation: Lead rangeland management specialist for the Bureau of Land Management’s Little Snake Field Office
“This office has the largest public lands grazing program in Colorado. We have more lands that are grazed under federal permits administered out of this field office, and more permitees, than any other BLM office in the state. This office manages 1.3 million acres.
“The busiest time of the year for most of us (at the BLM) is during the spring, especially during the growing season, which usually runs through the last week in May through the first week in July. That’s when we do most of our plant monitoring and stuff like that. My role, since I’m program lead, I have more of the administrative burdens that kind of keep me in the office more than an earlier point in my career.
“I’ve been here eight years, and this has just been a tremendous place to work. Most of the public I work with are local ranchers, and I really enjoy working with them. It’s very challenging work. There’s always a problem to be solved, and I enjoy that. But, I also like the fact that we’re serving both the public that we see and the public that we don’t see, which is the larger population that benefits from the resources that we manage. It’s very rewarding, as someone who works as a land steward, to work with ranchers that are also stewards of the land. I enjoy that very much.
“My family and I moved here in the spring of 2002, from Palm Springs, Calif., where I worked for the BLM down there for seven years. But, I’m originally from Lubbock, Texas. I went to school at Texas Tech, where I got a range management degree.
“One of the things that led me to work for BLM was the work I did with the Boy Scouts in New Mexico. Through some of the networking I did, I got to know some BLM people down there, which led me to the BLM as an employer. It dovetailed well with my educational background.
“Every agency is its own animal, its own culture. BLM has always had this culture of doing more with less. It’s a very can-do spirit. And, it’s not just here. I’ve worked in other offices and it’s like that anywhere I’ve ever been. It’s an agency that attracts the kind of person that has a can-do spirit, and that sort of permeates the agency.
“Anything in the public eye takes some intestinal fortitude to carry forth on your mission and keep your eyes on the goals that have been set, even though a lot of people don’t necessarily agree with what the goal is, or how we’re achieving it. A lot of time it’s a matter of constantly communicating and constantly being in that mode of educating people, and saying, ‘You may not agree, but here’s the logic behind it.’ That kind of thing. It’s not for sissies.
“We were very glad to get out of California. We had a 1-year-old son at the time, and we didn’t want to raise him in an apartment complex, which was all we could afford in the Coachella Valley. So, we came here, bought our first house and had two more kids. That’s pretty much what keeps us occupied 99 percent of the time — the children.
“I have a son and two daughters. My son, Wyatt, is 9. My daughter, Amelia, is 6. And, my daughter, Abigail, is 20 months old.
“My son and I are heavily involved in Cub Scouts. We have six (Cub Scouts) in our den. We have about 35 in our whole pack right now. There are times when it’s a lot of work, but it’s really rewarding. It’s kind of like when I was growing up in Boy Scouts as a kid, sometimes scouting was a bigger source of stress than school was.
“Sometimes working with a Cub Scout pack can kind of be that way. I worry more about that than what’s going on at work.
“We love living in Colorado. We love the proximity to Steamboat because we ski. We love to hike in the summers. Growing up in Texas, we always recreated in New Mexico. I just always loved the southern Rockies. One of the great things about moving back here from California was being near the Rockies again.
“Myself, my wife, and especially my son, are huge Colorado Rockies fans. We try to get over to the games as much as we can during the summer.
“I think because I grew up skiing in New Mexico, I favor spring skiing when it starts to get a little warmer. I don’t mind the ice so much, because skiing in New Mexico is all about skiing on the ice. I just love those clear blue days that we get. My son just started skiing last year and he’s really taken to it. I hope to get him on the mountain a lot more this winter.
“California is more generic because there are so many people from so many walks of life that when you blend it all together, it’s not very distinctive. I never really experienced a distinct local culture out there. But up here so many people who live here grew up here. And there’s a lot of ties to the past here. Even though this is still a long way from where I grew up, culturally I feel closer to where I grew up.
“My dad’s probably my greatest single role model. He’s the one who taught me the value of treating people with respect, and doing what you think is right, and being honest to yourself about doing what you think is right.”
— Interview and photo by Ben McCanna
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