The U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s responsibility to Americans is substantial. Since 1946 the agency has been charged with managing 245 million acres of public lands across the country. These forests, mountains, rangelands, arctic tundra and deserts contain spectacular panoramas ranging from Alaska’s North Slope to the Florida Keys that belong to all of us. Its primary mission is to secure the health, diversity and productivity of these public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations through the balanced stewardship of the land and its resources.

There could hardly be a more qualified person to lead this important agency than President Biden’s nominee for Bureau of Land Management Director, fellow Missoulian Tracy Stone-Manning. Tracy has impressed many of us during her successful career advocating for the sensible stewardship of our nation’s public lands and waters.

In all of her roles, she’s demonstrated that she has the quintessential qualities of a great leader. We know she has what it takes to successfully lead the Bureau of Land Management.

Tracy’s resume is as spectacular as the public lands and waters she will oversee. Over the past four years she has served as associate vice president for public lands and then senior advisor for conservation policy at the National Wildlife Federation.

Prior to that she was chief of staff for Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, and director of the Montana Department of Environmental Quality, supervising water, air, mining and remediation programs. She also served as a senior adviser to U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, focusing on forestry concerns. Earlier in her career she led the Clark Fork Coalition, our beloved river conservation organization that played a key role in cleaning up the Clark Fork River Superfund site.

Through her service with NWF, and as a hunter, backpacker, birder and conservationist, she knows the importance of prioritizing wildlife habitat restoration. Working with Gov. Bullock she astutely oversaw day-to-day operations of his cabinet and the state’s 11,000 employees.

She is a proven consensus builder with a superior ability to bring together diverse groups of stakeholders to develop collaborative policy solutions—all qualities that will be critical to guide the Bureau of Land Management.

Tracy knows the importance of working lands, multiple use management, and a balanced approach to land management informed by science and involving robust public participation. Whether you’re a permittee or someone who enjoys recreating on America’s vast public lands, Tracy is someone who will listen and hear your concerns.

For Missoulians, Tracy is more than an executive leader with remarkable skills and a deep love for the outdoors. She is a friend and a neighbor and, as such, we know her as a great soul whose passion is to pass along a place better than we found to future generations. It’s no wonder Sen. Tester refers to her as “a tireless public lands champion.”

Montana writer Rick Bass said of Tracy, “She’s inevitably the smartest person in the room and almost always also the most patient. This combination is a definition of wisdom."

These are the values that underpin Tracy Stone-Manning’s outstanding achievements, and why we are so proud to endorse her nomination for director of the Bureau of Land Management and share her with the rest of the nation. We encourage Missoula County residents to contact our senators and ask them to do the same.

Dave Strohmaier, Juanita Vero and Josh Slotnick; Missoula County Commissioners