News Release

Wilderness, Wild and Scenic River Stewards Receive Forest Service Awards

October 18, 2010 -

The USDA Forest Service recently recognized the outstanding contributions and accomplishments of six individuals and four groups regarding their stewardship of National Forest System wilderness and wild and scenic rivers.

"The exceptional efforts and leadership of these dedicated employees and colleagues will allow us to continue our legacy of quality wilderness management and the protection of wild and scenic rivers," said Tom Tidwell, the Chief of the Forest Service. "Their work will help ensure an enduring wilderness resource for future generations."

The 2010 National Wilderness Awards recognize accomplishments in the fields of education, research and leadership to keep Forest Service wilderness areas in their natural, wild state. Recipients include:

  • Stephen Hendricks - Aldo Leopold Award for Overall Wilderness Stewardship Program. Hendricks, of Asheville, N.C., recently retired as the forest planner for the National Forests in North Carolina.
  • The Wilderness Institute, University of Montana -Aldo Leopold Group Award for Overall Wilderness Stewardship for Wilderness Stewardship Challenge accomplishments in Idaho, Montana and North Dakota.
  • Clem Pope - Bob Marshall Award for Individual Champion of Wilderness Stewardship. Pope, of McCall, Idaho, is the Wilderness Manager for the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness, Payette National Forest, Idaho.
  • Sitka Conservation Society, Sitka, Alaska - Bob Marshall Award for Group Champion of Wilderness Stewardship.
  • Laurie Matthews - Wilderness Education Leadership Award. Matthews, of Challis, Idaho, is the Wilderness Program Manager on the Middle Fork Ranger District, Salmon-Challis National Forest, Idaho.
  • Rusty Thompson - Traditional Skills and Minimum Tool Leadership. Thompson, of Entiat, Wash., is the Trail Program Manager for the Wenatchie Ranger District, Okanongan Wenatchee National Forests.
  • White Mountain National Forest (New Hampshire) Wilderness Team - Traditional Skills and Minimum Tool Leadership group award for basic principles of wilderness stewardship. The minimum tool concept involves the use of traditional or primitive tools to keep wilderness areas in their natural, wild state.

The National 2010 Wild and Scenic River awards recognize stewardship accomplishments to promote and protect the Forest Service's Wild and Scenic Rivers Program, which currently manages 119 wild and scenic rivers. These rivers provide outstanding scenery, critical habitat for fish and wildlife, offer recreational opportunities, and sustain water resources for a growing population. Recipients include:

  • The Huron-Manistee National Forests (Mich. - Outstanding Stewardship of River Resources.
  • Mollie Chaudet - Outstanding River Manger. Chaudet, of Bend, Ore., is the wild and scenic river coordinator and NEPA litigation coordinator for the Deschutes National Forest, Ore.
  • Amy Unthank - Line Officer/Staff Wild and Scenic River Leadership Award. The award recognizes her work as Regional Fisheries Program Leader in the Southwestern Region based in Albuquerque. Unthank is now the National Fisheries Program Leader in Washington, D.C.

A Lifetime Achievement Award will also be presented to Jackie Diedrich, the agency's National Wild and Scenic River Program Manager. Diedrich, from Portland, Ore., is recognized as an international leader for wild and scenic rivers and currently serves as the Council Chair for the federal Interagency Wild and Scenic Rivers Coordinating Council. The award recognizes her 33 years with the agency as a wild and scenic river steward of great insight and a champion of partner collaborations to benefit and preserve wild and scenic rivers.

The Forest Service wilderness program is a major component of the National Wilderness Preservation System which encompasses all federal land management agencies that manage wilderness areas. This system includes 756 wilderness units with more than 109 million acres. For more information, please visit For more information about The National Wild and Scenic Rivers System, visit