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home : education : schools March 17, 2018

2/27/2018 2:11:00 PM
BLM manager to tell story of public lands
Deschutes field office manager for the BLM, Jeff Kitchens, will speak at the STA forum next week. photo provided
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Deschutes field office manager for the BLM, Jeff Kitchens, will speak at the STA forum next week. photo provided

By Craig Eisenbeis

The Sisters Trails Alliance (STA) announced that Jeff Kitchens, Deschutes field office manager for the Bureau of Land Management, Prineville District, will be the speaker for the March installment of the Bjarne Holm Speaker Series. His topic will be: "About the Lands No One Else Wanted - The Story of Our Public Lands."

Over the last four years, STA has sponsored a series of public talks focused on local outdoor recreation and natural resource issues. The Bjarne Holm Speaker Series was launched by the late Bjarne Holm, for whom STA named the series in 2016. Since its inception, the purpose of STA's series has been to enhance outdoor public recreation opportunities in the Sisters area and to educate the public about the natural world.

Regarding the upcoming event, Catherine Hayden, STA's current board chair, said, "The history of public lands federal ownership is a timely topic as efforts to transfer land to states or even sell off parcels continue to pop up in the news. We're excited to have Jeff speak on this topic to help us better understand the complications and controversies public land managers deal with and, hopefully, make us better stewards of the land we have volunteered to serve."

According to Hayden, Kitchens' talk will focus on issues including a history of United States public policy and key events that relate to our country's complicated relationship with its public lands. Topics will include public land laws and legislation, land use through time, human geography and expansion, railroad history, and the complications and controversies associated with public land


Kitchens has been in his current post since the fall of 2015, when he returned to Central Oregon from a position with the BLM in Billings, Montana. He previously worked as a forester in the Deschutes National Forest in 2000. A graduate of Gettysburg College, he holds a graduate degree from Colorado State University in Forest Science, with emphasis on fire ecology. Much of his public service to date has been in the field of burned area rehabilitation. His BLM district oversees a vast swath of Oregon public lands stretching nearly the entire distance from The Dalles to Klamath County.

Kitchens is looking forward to the opportunity to interact with the public during his speaking engagement in Sisters. "The important message to share," he said, "is that the BLM very much appreciates the local organizations, such as the Sisters Trails Alliance, that partner with us to provide recreational opportunities and access to the


Through sponsorship of these free public presentations, STA is working to promote outdoor public recreation and education in Sisters Country. This next event will be held on Thursday, March 8, in the Sisters-Camp Sherman Fire Station Community Hall in downtown Sisters at 301 S. Elm St. Doors will open at 6 p.m., and the formal program will begin at 7 p.m. The program is free and open to the public. Snacks and refreshments will be


The Sisters Trails Alliance is an all-volunteer, 501(c)(3) nonprofit community organization dedicated to the planning, constructing, and maintenance of walking, hiking, cycling and equestrian trails in Sisters Country. The STA believes that trails are an indispensable ingredient for the quality of life and economic vibrancy in Sisters Country. Volunteer help and new members are always welcome.

For further information about STA or performing volunteer work on trails or other outdoor-related projects, contact the organization at 541-719-8822. Additional information can also be found on their website at or follow STA on Facebook at Sisters Trails Alliance.

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