(WASHINGTON) -- Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne today announced the resignation of Bureau of Land Management Director Kathleen Clarke, who is returning to her home state of Utah to rejoin her family.
Kempthorne commended Clarke for her strong leadership since she became director in January 2002, successfully enhancing recreational opportunities on BLM lands while at the same time expediting environmentally sensitive domestic energy production on federal lands.
“Your devotion to the management of our nation’s public lands, our western communities, and the employees of the BLM is truly inspiring,” Kempthorne wrote in a letter to Clarke accepting her resignation. “Our public lands, our forests and our landscapes are better off because of your service.”
Clarke was sworn in January 2, 2002 and became the first woman to serve as BLM director. Prior to that, she served as executive director of the Utah Department of Natural Resources.
Clarke worked for Rep. James V. Hansen from 1987 to 1993 as director of constituent services and executive director of Hansen's Ogden, Utah office. Prior to that, she was co-owner of a construction and real estate business in Kaysville, Utah. She also served as staff assistant in the Washington, D.C., office of Sen. Wallace F. Bennett.
A native of Bountiful, Utah, Clarke attended Utah State University, graduating cum laude with a B.A. degree in political science in 1970.
The Bureau of Land Management is responsible for managing 258 million acres of land, or about one-eighth of the land in the United States, and approximately 700 million acres of subsurface mineral resources.
Most of the lands the bureau manages are located in the western United States, including Alaska, and are dominated by extensive grasslands, forests, high mountains, arctic tundra, and deserts.