“I think of myself as the behind the scenes person that makes things happen, brings people together, and highlights the important stuff that people are doing. To me, this whole program is pretty exciting and rewarding because I thought it was a lot of people doing great work that nobody knew about. I think it’s been a really exciting and rewarding career that I’ve had with the BLM.”
— Lynn Barclay, Craig resident, about her employment with the Bureau of Land Management
Dedication, experience and a willingness to learn.
These are the values espoused and used by Craig resident Lynn Barclay of the Bureau of Land Management Little Snake River Field Office.
Barclay, who has been in Craig for over 20 years now, has taken on countless jobs of the behind-the-scenes variety and has been instrumental in working on fires and natural disasters across the country.
Barclay has been the BLM’s Mitigation/Education/Prevention Specialist since the position was created during the Clinton administration. That position carries with it many responsibilities, but perhaps chief among them is to act as a liaison between the fire protection districts and the public.
“We help communities, from the grassroots up, become better prepared for fires,” she said of her job. “I’m sort of that bridge between the communities, the fire protection districts, the public and our fire program.”
And while Barclay feels at home in her job now, it took time and work to get there.
Born in New Jersey, Barclay’s family moved to Salida in 1967 before her father got a job at the Hayden Power Plant and they moved to Craig a year later.
Barclay worked in sales at the Northwest Colorado Daily Press, went to school and took on a few different jobs before a friend recommended the BLM as a god place to work.
She started with the agency in 1992 as a mail and file clerk. From there, her career started to take off as she was a willing participant in any program she could become involved with.
“I was just interested in everything about the agency,” she said. “Any training opportunity, I wanted them to send me so I could learn. I became aware of the fire program after a year or 18 months and began doing some public affairs work as a collateral duty.”
That interest led to Barclay's involvement with the dispatch program, public information, realty department and even some firefighting — all while maintaining her duties as clerk.
She passed firefighting tests and went on local assignments as the oldest member of the fire department until 2001, when she had motorcycle accident and suffered head trauma.
“I was never able to get my stamina back and get back to that level (to be firefighter qualified),” she said.
The accident took away her ability to fight fires and gave Barclay trouble for a while due to the trauma, but it did not remove her drive to contribute.
Around the time of the accident, Barclay started as Specialist at the BLM right after the position was created in late 2000. She also became a Type-1 Public Information Officer, meaning she works as part of a national team on assignment.
That job has taken Barclay to Alaska, Florida and many assignments between.
It is work she excels at, says Colt Mortenson, the Fire Management Officer for the Northwest Colorado Fire Management Unit, who has been working with Barclay at the Little Snake Office the past two years.
“I think the big thing is she’s got a passion,” Mortenson said. “She’s very professional and deals with a lot of fire information, both on a local and national level. She’s on a national team and does a really good job.”
Barclay, who enjoys outdoors activities in her leisure time, feels lucky to have found work that married her interest in fire and dispatch with her employer, the BLM. She knows not many people are aware of what she does on a given assignment, but that is part of its charm.
“I think of myself as the behind the scenes person that makes things happen, brings people together, and highlights the important stuff that people are doing,” she said. “To me, this whole program is pretty exciting and rewarding because I thought it was a lot of people doing great work that nobody knew about. I think it’s been a really exciting and rewarding career that I’ve had with the BLM.”
Nate Waggenspack can be reached at 875-1795 or firstname.lastname@example.org