ARC Salutes Legends Award Winners

Contact: Derrick Crandall


Washington, D.C. - The American Recreation Coalition (ARC) presented its 2005 Legends Awards to seven outstanding federal managers at a special ceremony held during Great Outdoors Week (June 6-10, 2005). “These exceptional individuals have made important contributions to outdoor recreation all across the country,” said ARC President Derrick Crandall, “and we are honored to showcase them and their work today.” ARC presents its Legends Awards annually in recognition of the recipients’ successful efforts to enhance outdoor recreation facilities, resources and experiences. Honorees are nominated by seven federal agencies: USDA Forest Service, National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and Federal Highway Administration.

Recipients of the 2005 Legends Awards are:

  • Dave Killebrew, Recreation Planner on the Tonto National Forest in Arizona;
  • A. Durand Jones, Special Assistant to the Director of the National Park Service;
  • Ray Hanson, Outdoor Recreation Planner in the Bureau of Land Management’s Lander, Wyoming Field Office;
  • Jim Jensen, Landscape Architect in the Bureau of Reclamation’s Provo, Utah, Area Office;
  • Richard Gilbert, Manager of the Bill Williams River National Wildlife Refuge in Arizona;
  • Michael Miller, Chief of the Operations Division for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Little Rock District; and
  • Janice Thompson, Civil Rights and Special Programs Coordinator for the Iowa Division of the Federal Highway Administration.

A Recreation Planner on the Tonto National Forest in Arizona since 1988, Dave Killebrew has served as assistant group leader for the developed recreation program on the forest for over 10 years. He has been instrumental in the success of one of the largest developed recreation programs in the Forest Service, where over 5.7 million recreation visits each year generate about $2 million in annual fees. In the late 80's, when the dam at Theodore Roosevelt Lake was raised 70 vertical feet, Mr. Killebrew finalized the conceptual plan for constructing a complex of recreation sites at higher elevations – one of the largest recreation development projects ever undertaken by the Forest Service. His plan for a fee-retention project at the lake to help offset the cost of operating and maintaining these facilities became the model for the national fee demonstration project approved by Congress in 1996.

As Special Assistant to the Director of the National Park Service, A. Durand Jones provides guidance on resource, visitor service, budgetary, and organizational challenges. He was previously Deputy Director, where he focused his efforts on protection and preservation of park resources, visitor enjoyment, education, business practices, and innovative partnerships and programs to manage park units. A creative and visionary leader, Mr. Jones has numerous career highlights: a central role in the establishment of new park units in Colorado, Oregon and Alaska; use of entrepreneurial skills in the expansion of Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park in Texas and Everglades National Park in Florida; guiding a $51 million restoration for Everglades National Park after Hurricane Andrew in 1992; and crafting a solution to protect the natural resources in Yellowstone National Park and provide for an appropriate level of snowmobile use, a plan accepted by gateway communities and upheld in federal court.

Ray Hanson has compiled an exceptional record as an Outdoor Recreation Planner, working with nationally significant public land resources for the past 30 years. As BLM’s trail liaison and lead for the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail in Wyoming, he tackled the issue of motorized and non-motorized recreation along the designated route, leading to the approval of shared use of existing primitive two-track roads. He also developed GPS/GIS-produced maps of the route, providing key information to aid trail users. In 2002, foreseeing the need to proactively manage a substantial increase in visitation to a 26-mile segment of the Oregon/Mormon-Pioneer/California/Pony Express National Historic Trails, his work led to the establishment of a visitor-carrying capacity threshold that has been widely accepted by managers and stakeholders alike. He has also made significant contributions to the BLM’s National OHV Strategy and National Mountain Bicycling Strategy.

A Licensed Landscape Architect and Licensed Land Surveyor for the Bureau of Reclamation, Jim Jensen has extensive experience with recreation site designs, accessibility requirements and construction specifications. He has led $21 million in rehabilitation efforts at seven water-based recreation areas. His goal is sustainable sites that will accommodate future uses by exceeding current recreation standards. Reclamation’s Recreation Facility Design Guidelines manual contains numerous projects designed by Mr. Jensen that accommodate individuals with disabilities and the current size, shape and design of recreation equipment. His forte is the ability to design functional recreation facilities that will fit into a landscape with minimal impact. An example is the special boating access site at Jordanelle Reservoir, which is used by the National Ability Center in Park City, Utah, and other special needs groups.

Richard Gilbert has spent more than 30 years with the Fish and Wildlife Service, working at seven different National Wildlife Refuges. As Manager of the Bill Williams River National Wildlife Refuge, he has worked in partnership with many other public and private agencies and organizations to promote high-quality outdoor recreation opportunities. He was instrumental in planning and constructing a fishing facility on the refuge that also provides interpretive and birding opportunities. The facility includes a paved trail leading to three docks that are open 24 hours a day with solar lighting for nighttime fishing and a solar watering system to irrigate over 300 native plants that enhance the area’s natural beauty. The entire facility, which includes an outdoor environmental education shelter and a canoe/kayak launch area, has been made accessible to persons with disabilities and offers interpretation of local ecology, water management and the area’s history, as well as opportunities for watching wildlife.

Michael Miller has dedicated his 31-year career with the Corps to the enhancement of recreation opportunities, facilities and experiences on public lands. Since 1998, when he assumed his current responsibilities as Chief of the Little Rock District’s Operations Division, he has been an effective advocate for meeting recreation needs, working with members of the Missouri and Arkansas Congressional delegations to bring $13 million in recreation improvements to Clearwater, Table Rock and Greers Ferry Lakes. He has also been a proponent of Corps-sponsored recreation modernization programs, most recently resulting in the awarding of $750,000 for park maintenance improvements at Prairie Creek and Hickory Creek Parks in 2005. He has championed numerous partnerships in the public and private sector that have provided public recreation opportunities, including a variety of hunting opportunities for the mobility impaired. Mr. Miller is recognized as a regional and national leader in his efforts to share successes, lessons learned and best practices throughout the Corps of Engineers.

With responsibility for Civil Rights, Title VI and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Programs, as well as the Recreational Trails, Scenic Byways and Transportation Enhancements Programs, Janice Thompson believes that transportation projects can be important in enhancing community values, respecting environmental resources and preserving valuable cultural resources. She has encouraged the interaction of planners, engineers and landscape architects for many years, using “context sensitive solutions” even before that concept had a name. Of particular note are the private/public partnerships that she has fostered through the Iowa Urban Youth Corps Committee to promote recreational opportunities for all people. Ms. Thompson recognizes the twin goals of enhancing recreational trail systems and providing meaningful work that young people can learn from, take pride in, and build on as part of a life-long educational experience.

(June 8, 2005)