News Release 2014 Legends Awards


This news release is available as a .pdf here.

Washington, D.C. (June 10, 2014) - The American Recreation Coalition will present its 2014 Legends Awards to six federal managers in recognition of their outstanding work to improve outdoor recreation experiences and opportunities for the American people. The Awards will be presented on June 10th, 2014 as a signature event during Great Outdoors Week - ARC’s celebration of the value and importance of outdoor recreation. Initiated by ARC in 1991, the Legends Award program calls on federal agencies no nominate an individual whose extraordinary efforts have made a concrete difference in enhancing outdoor recreation programs and resources. The 2014 Legends Award recipients represent the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, Federal Highway Administration, Fish & Wildlife Service, National Park Service and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Together, these agencies host more than a billion visitors annually. 2014's Legends Awards winners are: Trinidad Juarez, U.S. Forest Service; Jared Oakleaf, Bureau of Land Management; Lorrie Beck, Fish & Wildlife Service; Lonnie Pilkington, National Park Service; Elijah Henley, Federal Highway Administration and Jude Harrington, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Trinidad Juarez is the Regional Landscape Architect for the U.S. Forest Service’s Pacific Southwest Region. For almost 40 years, Trini has worked for the American public to advance concepts of sustainable recreation and improved recreation access for all segments of society. Utilization of “best available science” and approaches to manage and sustain social values, including recreation, in the landscape have been central to his work. Through his co-authorship of the California Children’s Bill of Rights, he spearheaded the concept that all children, before their 14th birthday, should have the opportunity to experience ten outdoor activities, including camping under the stars and following a trail. This concept has been endorsed by a long list of organizations and stakeholders including the Governor of California and, most recently, the American Society of Landscape Architects. Through Trini’s efforts, students and young professionals have had the opportunity to gain experience by working directly with recreation-related management of National Forests. Through partnerships, he has utilized the diversity and strength of the California State University student body to ground-truth USFS planning efforts, including the Car-Less California initiative, while simultaneously having the students act as ambassadors between the agency and their family, friends and neighbors. Trini’s work has consistently pushed the boundaries of environmental stewardship, particularly as it relates to engaging population demographics that are “non-traditional” or “underserved” users of National Forest landscapes and recreation opportunities. His work has touched and will continue to positively affect countless youth in California, and across the nation, improving opportunities and access for recreation on public lands as well as broadening understanding and appreciation of both stewardship responsibilities and career possibilities.

Jared Oakleaf has served as an Outdoor Recreation Planner with the Bureau of Land Management’s Lander Field Office in Wyoming’s Wind River-Bighorn Basin District since 2001. Jared has made significant contributions to the recreation program at all levels of the organization, including state and national. Many of his accomplishments have been used as models for other field offices to follow, including a partnership with the University of Wyoming to develop an innovative way to complete a Visual Resource Management Analysis of the entire Lander Field Office. Jared’s involvement with local clubs and organizations has been immense and reflects his strong belief in the importance of bringing stakeholders together to manage natural resources on a more comprehensive basis. Under his leadership, the Lander Field Office has developed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Lander Cycling Club to develop a master plan for biking trails in the area. Jared was also a “core” interdisciplinary team member during the five-year planning effort to complete the Lander Resource Management Plan Revision. Jared has received a number of BLM “Star” and annual performance awards over the years for his work on projects that have improved the public land user’s recreational experience. Jared is known statewide for his leadership and mentoring ability with volunteers and BLM employees working on the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail. His ability to lead and strengthen a network of inspired and skilled recreation staff across several field offices during a five-year implementation initiative ensured the accomplishment of trail objectives in Wyoming, amid many land management challenges. His creative approach to finding solutions to complex recreation and natural resource management issues has been a huge asset to the Lander Field Office.

Lorrie Beck is Director of the Great Plains Nature Center, located in Wichita, Kansas. She is the only U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service employee co-located at this urban environmental educational facility, and has been Director since 2012. The Great Plains Nature Center is a partnership between Fish & Wildlife, Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks & Tourism and the City of Wichita Department of Parks and Recreation. As Director, she oversees management of the facility while continuing to provide education through programs, events and personal contacts. She works with corporate sponsors and foundations and works on grants and donations to produce posters, pocket guides featuring wildlife of the region, calendars and books written and illustrated by Kansas kids. Ms. Beck commitment to resource through environmental education reaches beyond the doors of the nature center. She also manages to stay involved with programs and events held at Quivira National Wildlife Refuge. She attends and brings volunteers to help events such as Kids Fishing Day, the Quivira Christmas Bird Count, and helps with display staffing at the Kansas State Fair. This year, she accepted the Department of Interior’s “Partners in Conservation Award”. Her leadership towards managing the Great Plains Nature Center, coupled with personal dedication and commitment to conservation, shows how much one person, along with a dedicated staff, can accomplish.

Lonnie Pilkington - is a Natural Resource Program Manager with the National Park Service at the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area in Arizona. Since 2011, Lonnie has facilitated numerous partnerships and programs to connect underserved Native American youth to their National Parks. Lonnie and partners have designed and implemented many innovative programs that have increased Native American participation in local outdoor recreation activities and jumpstarted healthy lifestyle changes. Those programs include: Journey Through Waterways and Walkways to Wellness - a program that engaged 29 underserved Native American youth and adults in hiking, kayaking and service-learning events in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area; Rekindling Connections to Cultural and Natural Resources along the Escalante River - a program that introduced seven Native American youth to NPS natural and cultural resource stewardship careers and enabled them to experience world class back-country hiking and camping opportunities; Restoring Relations along the San Juan River - a program that enabled Native American youth to embark on an eight-day kayaking, hiking and service-learning adventure along the river; and Native Conservation Corps - a program that introduced Native American youth from multiple tribes to career and recreation opportunities on their federal lands. Lonnie has garnered extraordinary community support for these programs, has been resourceful in finding multiple funding sources for them, and has shared the news of their success both inside and outside the agency. Lonnie is passionate about connecting underserved youth to their National Parks.

Elijah Henley - is the Transportation Planning Team Lead for the Central Federal Lands Highway Division of the Federal Highway Administration. In this position, he has spearheaded three projects that have had a significant impact on improving recreational opportunities at the local, regional and national levels. Locally, Elijah is Project Manager for a trails project seeking to better link three National Wildlife Refuges to adjacent communities in the Transportation Recreation Opportunity Spectrum (TROS) to give Federal Land the Denver area, with the ultimate goal of linking them to Rocky Mountain National Park. To facilitate this, he has been asked to establish a Technical Advisory Committee focused on mapping all existing trail and conservation projects along the 60-mile corridor to identify the most critical gaps in the regional trail network. Regionally, he is in the process of developing Management Agencies a new set of analytical tools to better evaluate transportation’s impact on natural and cultural resources and the visitor experience. At the national level, Elijah has expanded on the TROS framework and is implementing a pilot program focused on six states to develop geodatabases of readily available resource data that will be used in the Federal Lands Long Range Transportation Planning process. This information will be used to isolate the portions of the statewide transportation network with the greatest level of environmental sensitivity and the portions of the network where there is the greatest opportunity to provide enhanced visitor access and amenities. All three projects required Elijah to think outside of the box and come up with creative ways to utilize funds out of the Federal Lands Transportation Program to build new partnerships and new projects that had not been done before.

Jude Harrington - is the Raystown Lake Supervisory Park Ranger for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District, a position he has held since 1992. Jude has a great reputation among his peers as being a natural resource professional dedicated to delivering quality recreation opportunities to approximately one million visitors to Raystown Lake every year. The 38-year-old dam and flood control project, also Pennsylvania’s biggest lake, provides a $28 million local stimulus for the surrounding communities of central Pennsylvania. Since beginning his tenure as Supervisory Park Ranger, Jude has dramatically improved Raystown’s Seven Points Campground, consisting of 261 campsites, an environmental education themed visitor center, amphitheater, swimming beach, playgrounds and a full-service marina - the largest such facility in the state - and now a national tourism destination. Additionally, the area connects to the half-mile Hillside Nature Trail, 32-mile Allegrippis Trail System and a 2.3-mile sustainable green trail. Seven Points Campground is the number one revenue generating campground in the entire USACE and a top 100 campground, according to Reserve America. Jude also led the innovative Cooperative Joint Management agreement effort with the Friends of Raystown Lake, leading to increased service levels and upgrades and such initiatives as the $70,000 Friends of Raystown Lake Partnership Challenge to upgrade electrical service. His leadership, selfless service and dedication to mission accomplishments have enhanced recreational opportunities on public lands in the North Atlantic Division and shaped the Corps Natural Resources Management program for over 30 years. Jude is a true professional, leader, team member, and model public servant for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.