Wendy Reynolds returning to Craig to take over BLM’s Little Snake office | CraigDailyPress.com

Wendy Reynolds returning to Craig to take over BLM’s Little Snake office

Brian Smith

Northwest Colorado is one of Wendy Reynolds' favorite places.

That's why the 57-year-old resident of Idaho Springs, Idaho is "delighted" to return to the area where she once worked to take the reins of the Bureau of Land Management's Little Snake Field Office.

Reynolds, currently the field manager for the BLM's Upper Snake Field Office in Idaho, accepted the position to become John Husband's replacement.

David Blackstun has been serving as the office's acting field manager for about a year.

Blackstun said he did not apply for the position and is leaving the office in mid-January for a job with the BLM in Washington, D.C.

Reynolds accepted the offer last week and is expected to start her new position by mid-March. An interim field manager will step in to manage the transition between Blackstun and Reynolds.

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"In the last eight years of my journey, I have gotten a lot of experience that I thought would have been very valuable and very worth bringing back to Northwest Colorado because … that is one of my favorite places to be," she said.

Reynolds was born in the Boston area, but raised near Denver and has lived most of her life in Colorado.

She started working for the BLM in 2002 at the Little Snake Field Office in Craig as a planning and environmental coordinator — a position she held for a year. She also served as a planner for the U.S. Forrest Service for 12 years, eight of which were spent in Steamboat Springs.

Since leaving for Idaho, Reynolds said she has worked as a field manager for several BLM offices in the area.

In that time, her desire to return to Northwest Colorado has grown and she said she jumped at the opportunity to lead the Little Snake Field Office.

"We are talking about public lands, which are still some of the most valuable resources and that are incredibly important to communities," she said. "Northwest Colorado, and particularly Moffat County, has got a really strong sense of community and they have a very strong sense of place and they are very interested in what happens to those public lands and those resources around them."

Simply put, managing public lands is Reynolds' passion, she said.

"Multiple use (lands) are a fantastic opportunity to maintain habitat for wildlife, to allow for economic development to provide those communities and the people in those communities (opportunities), and to embrace a lifestyle people in larger cities will never have," she said. "So, it is more than just dirt."

Steve Bennett, acting district manager for the BLM's Northwest Colorado District, said he was excited to have Reynolds overseeing the Little Snake Field Office, which employs about 30 people.

"We think her experience is going to serve that office well," he said. "Her familiarity with people, politics and resources up there is going to enable her to represent the BLM well in that position."

Reynolds was selected from a pool of about nine applicants.

Bennett said three things stood out about Reynolds — her current job as a field manager, her fire management experience and the renewable resource programs she helped develop during her tenure in Idaho.

"She has been involved in managing a lot of fire incidents in her field manager capacity, which is important up there because Craig has such a high incidents of fires," Bennett said.

Renewable resource programs, such as grazing and watershed management areas, are something Bennett felt were highly important to the Little Snake area.

"Craig does have one of the biggest grazing programs in the state," he said. "It is an important background to have dealing with those programs."

Reynolds has a clear vision for how she would like to manage the public lands in Northwest Colorado, she said.

"I have got a lot of experience balancing multiple use (lands) and understanding the values of a sense of place from a community standpoint, and how to blend those together," she said. "I think that is what is really the most important thing that I do is make it all work and (to) make it all come together."

Reynolds said she was very aware of the current issues surrounding the Little Snake Field Office, including the finalization of the resource management plan and the decision to close Vermillion Basin to energy development.

However, she said she is not intimidated by the prospect of taking on those issues.

"I know that communication is always the key to resolving problems and issues like this," she said. "There is always a different point of view — you just have to be a good listener and that is one thing that I do is I hear my communities, I listen, I understand that.

"Some of the decisions that I have to make are tough, but I am willing to do that and it has never been an issue with me."