Williamson honored with ‘Legends Award’

Martha Williamson on an animal GPS collaring trip to put telemetry on Canada lynx. The forest partnered with Rocky Mountain Research Station to study lynx dispersal and movement after being reintroduced into Southern Rockies. USDA Forest Service photo by Dale Gomez.

WASHINGTON DC – The U.S. Forest Service is proud to honor Martha Williamson from the Rio Grande National Forest as our 2020 Legends Award recipient. For close to 15 years, Martha has provided forward-thinking leadership in which she has championed the multiple-use mission of the USDA Forest Service – fostering and planning for steady increases in recreational uses on the District while fully supporting very active range and timber management programs.

Martha’s dedication to encouraging diverse user groups to come together to create stronger partnerships, increasing public participation in the recreation planning process, and simply encouraging and providing opportunities for people to get to know one another on a personal basis has built and strengthened relationships and partnerships between local communities and the Forest Service.

In her innovation, solving some of the key challenges facing outdoor recreation on the District, Martha builds trust and understanding between the District, increases outdoor recreational interest and use in the community, and cultivates partnerships.

Martha’s motto, “Just be nice to one another,” has established an atmosphere of respect and kindness in the local community that cannot be easily quantified, but is demonstrated in how she navigates the challenges of maintaining and improving recreational experiences and supporting local communities that depend upon the Forest Service to provide sustainable recreation opportunities.

Martha, through her poise and proficiency in communicating her intent, and while expressing her understanding of concerns raised by others, has built a strong partnership network with county commissioners, outdoor recreation clubs, volunteer groups, non-profit organizations, stakeholders, permittees, cooperating agencies, and most importantly, the people who enjoy and utilize public lands.

Martha’s holistic approach to developing and managing positive relationships begins in the pre-NEPA and NEPA planning processes and carries through with full integrity into the implementation and monitoring phases. Martha’s effort to build relationships and diverse partnerships while improving recreation opportunities and strategically resolving existing and new challenges along the way highlight her energy, enthusiasm, hard work, and dedication to bringing people together.

Martha’s extraordinary effort to expand and enhance outdoor recreational opportunities encourages a connection to public lands for all ages of people and increases partnerships in recreation. Her innovative leadership and dedication to enhancing and increasing outdoor recreation opportunities across public lands exemplifies the purpose and selection criteria for the Legends Award.

“We were so sneaky just to surprise Martha that we didn’t even put it on the calendars,” said Rio Grande Forest Supervisor Dan Dallas. “We used a regularly scheduled meeting to hide it. We did the celebration virtually, quietly arranging her whole district to be on the Teams meeting, along with Acting Regional Forester Jennifer Eberlien, who presented the award to Martha. It was way cool.”