GarCo Commissioner Martin bestowed with national award
Garfield County Commissioner John Martin is to be the recipient of the 2018 Dale Sowards Outstanding Public Lands Official Award, bestowed by the National Association of Counties (NACo) and the Western Interstate Region (WIR).
The award will be presented May 25 at the annual WIR Conference in Sun Valley, Idaho.
The award is named after late Conejos County, Colorado, Commissioner Dale Sowards, who helped create WIR.
John (Chip) Taylor, executive director of Colorado Counties Inc. (CCI), announced the award during a Tuesday work session for the local commissioners. Taylor was the one to nominate Martin for the award.
The nomination states in part, “Commissioner Martin’s dedication to and efforts on behalf of the country’s public lands have persisted over his two decades of public service as a commissioner. His mild manner belies his grasp of issues and his ability to successfully pursue his policy goals at all government levels. … And his traditional western appearance is a continuous reminder of the self-reliant independence that still permeates the spirit of all of us in the West who live near and interact with public lands.”
Garfield County is approximately 60 percent public lands, which Taylor also paid tribute to in the nomination.
“Commissioner Martin has always worked to consider and to balance the competing interests of his constituents, who do not always share the same priorities for Garfield County’s public lands,” Taylor went on to say in his nomination. “Nevertheless, he has been successful locally in being a wise custodian of the fiscal resources that have accrued to the county from public lands sources.”
Martin helped push state legislation to maximize federal lease payments to local communities, which Garfield County benefits from through the Garfield Federal Mineral Lease District grant programs.
Martin has served as chair of CCI’s Public Lands committee for multiple terms, was named CCI Commissioner of the Year in 2013, and received the CCI Distinguished Service Award in 2017. He served as WIR president in 2013.
“We appreciate his dedicated, professional service to Garfield County and the state of Colorado and his influence on public lands at the federal level,” Commissioner Tom Jankovsky noted.