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For Immediate Release:  October 5, 2005
Contact: Jennifer Lamb, National Outdoor Leadership School, (307) 335-2262

NOLS Honors Exemplary Land Manager from Idaho

Lander, Wyo. --- The National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) will honor Brad Shilling for his dedication to public land stewardship. Mr. Shilling will receive the 16th annual NOLS Stewardship Award during the school’s awards ceremony on October 7th in Lander.

Mr. Shilling is currently the Climbing Ranger for Castle Rocks State Park and the City of Rocks National Reserve, an area jointly managed by the State of Idaho and the National Park Service, where he oversees the climbing areas and trails within the 14,000-acre Reserve. City of Rocks is considered by many to be a world-class climbing destination, due in large part to Shilling’s innovative management.

Shilling manages use of the Reserve thoughtfully and carefully, in a way that has engendered respect and trust on the part of both visitors and fellow land managers. His commitment to education is exemplary. He sets a clear example for climber safety, providing slide shows to visitors on safe practices that protect both the climber and the resource he manages. He has generously supported NOLS training seminars to help develop our field instructors’ skills. For years, Shilling has created opportunities for service projects, leading NOLS students through on-site projects that help establish their positive attitudes toward stewardship. “Brad's hands-on interaction with our courses is key to developing our students' lasting commitment to stewardship of our public lands,” says Abby Warner, Director of NOLS Teton Valley.

Shilling is one of few land managers who, early on, understood that the physical impact of climbing is most significant at the base of climbs, on the trails, and in the staging areas where climbers spend most of their time. He has focused on careful design of climbing sites that accounts for actual use patterns to minimize impact on the resource while creating a positive experience for visitors. He has established a credible voice by encouraging and modeling respect for closures when necessary to protect the land. “Brad’s style is collaborative. He is not afraid to set and enforce clear expectations, but his reputation is the result of respect for others and an open mind as he looks for creative solutions,” says Mark Bergstrom, long-time NOLS operations staff member.

NOLS initiated the Stewardship Award in 1990 to recognize land mangers who have exhibited exceptional stewardship of the wild lands entrusted to their care. The school recognizes that to achieve its educational goals it needs high-quality land managers as outreach partners. NOLS also recognizes that with shrinking budgets and increasing demands on public land, these are challenging times for land managers. NOLS’ goal is to celebrate managers like Brad Shilling who rise to the occasion. 

Founded in 1965 by mountaineer and educator Paul Petzoldt, NOLS is the recognized leader in wilderness education.  As a private non-profit school, NOLS operates field expeditions around the world. Students learn wilderness skills and safety, conservation, and leadership. NOLS alumni include more than 75,000 graduates worldwide. Based in Lander, the school runs 14 to 95-day expeditions from thirteen international locations.

More than 400 other colleges and universities around the country have accepted NOLS/University of Utah credit.
© Deborah Sussex
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