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Huebner hits the highway

Donna Daniels

Anne Huebner, hired two years ago as manager of the Bureau of Land Management’s Glenwood Springs Field Office, has resigned.

Speaking from her office in West Glenwood Wednesday, where uniform shirts and trousers were draped over a chair, and a conference table and her desk were piled high with papers in preparation for her final day June 14, she said she leaves with mixed emotions.

While she expressed appreciation for the locals who supported her during her tenure, Huebner said she’s leaving because of the climate of “dysfunctional” politics at the state and federal levels.

“As the line manager for a complex field office, I am not supported by the BLM or the USDI (United States Department of the Interior) management to treat all users consistently, to treat the land with respect, to speak and behave congruently with some clearly articulated and absolute principles, or to follow the laws and regulations which I took an oath of office to uphold,” she said in her resignation letter May 21.

Huebner said that Vice President Cheney’s energy policy is driving decisions to allow more natural gas drilling on BLM land, sometimes at the cost of ignoring internal regulations. She declined to elaborate on how those regulations have been circumvented.

“I told them when I was hired that I’m not a go-along-to-get-along person. I treat all people equally and apply the laws and regulations consistently,” she said.

State BLM officials could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Huebner has 19 years of government work under her belt, beginning with her first job in 1983 on the Tongass National Forest in Alaska, as an interpretive naturalist.

She rode a ferry on the Inside Passage, handing out literature about the national forest.

Huebner, who grew up in Madison, Wis., has a doctorate in natural resource economics and a master’s in forestry from Colorado State University. And she can pack a mule, which is more than most Ph.Ds can do.

While in graduate school she worked summers at the Forest Service headquarters in Washington, D.C., on the policy analysis staff. Upon graduation it became a full-time job.

Wanting to get back to the field, Huebner worked on the Willamette National Forest in Oak Ridge, Ore., where she learned about policies in the form of the northern spotted owl and worked on a timber salvage plan for 9,000 acres of prime, old-growth Douglas fir burned in a fire.

A couple of years later she returned to Washington, D.C., and worked on the Alaska ecosystem management staff, acting as a liaison between regional Forest Service offices and the Alaska congressional delegation.

She has also lectured in Russia, Finland and Germany on sustainable forest management practices.

Six years ago Huebner was appointed district ranger for the Eagle District of the White River National Forest. In July 2000, she took over the BLM office following the departure of former manager Mike Mottice.

Now she will leave her house in No Name and move to northern Wisconsin in the Chain of Lakes area.

With no immediate plans for work, Huebner said she’ll spend a few months in her new home and take stock.

“This has been such a heart-wrenching decision to leave my job,” she said. “I want to take a few months off and relax.”

While she doesn’t know what direction her work life will take just yet, “I trust I’ll wake up one morning and it will be crystal clear what I need to do next,” she said.

Options she’s thought of range from working for a land trust to consulting on sustainable forest management.

“I want to make sure what I do next supports the work environment I want and my values,” she said. “Life is too short. You have to honor your values.”


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