A rugged, whitewater river flowing northward through deep canyons, the New River is among the oldest rivers on the continent. New River Gorge National River in West Virginia encompasses over 70,000 acres of land along the New River, is rich in cultural and natural history, and offers an abundance of scenic and recreational opportunities.
Big Southern Butte is one of two domes rising from a sea of basalt near the center of the eastern Snake River Plain in Idaho. The butte is one of the largest volcanic domes in the world, but at 300,000 years old it is also one of the youngest. Hikers who trek to the 7,550-foot high summit are rewarded with spectacular panoramic views. Photo by Devin Englestead, BLM Upper Snake Wildlife Biologist.
First light at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico. Established in November 22, 1939, the refuge has provided a critical stopover and wintering spot for thousands of sandhill cranes, geese and other waterfowl for 75 years. Bosque del Apache's sandhill crane population has multiplied from 18 birds in the 1840s to more than 20,000 birds today. Photo by Kim Hang Dessoliers (www.sharetheexperience.org).
The Probate Hearings Division serves as the Department's administrative trial court for Indian probate cases. Through formal hearings conducted by administrative law judges and Indian probate judges, and informal proceedings conducted by attorney decision makers, the Division determines the rightful heirs and beneficiaries of decedents who owned property held in trust by the United States on their behalf. The Division determines the validity of wills, decides what claims against the estate will be allowed, and orders distribution of the trust property to those entitled to receive it.
The Division is headed by a Chief Administrative Law Judge located in OHA's Albuquerque office. Its other judges and attorney decision makers are located in seven field offices throughout the West. Its decisions may be appealed to the Interior Board of Indian Appeals.
Probate Hearings Division Office of Hearings and Appeals U.S. Department of the Interior BIA Building II 1011 Indian School Rd. NW, Room 322 Albuquerque, NM 87104
Earl J. Waits, Chief Administrative Law Judge Robert S. Chester, Administrative Law Judge Larry M. Donovan, Administrative Law Judge Richard D. Hines, Administrative Law Judge Richard J. Hough, Administrative Law Judge Richard L. Reeh, Administrative Law Judge James L. Yellowtail, Administrative Law Judge Albert C. Jones, Indian Probate Judge John R. Payne, Indian Probate Judge Thomas K. Pfister, Indian Probate Judge Mary P Thorstenson, Indian Probate Judge Janet A. Yazzie, Indian Probate Judge Janette C. Elliott, Attorney Decision Maker Leah H. Ware, Attorney Decision Maker Christine Kelly, Supervisory Paralegal Specialist