“This has been a job I built my career towards,” explained Cindy Staszak, of being named Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument Manager. Staszak’s career path to Kanab has held many other ‘grand’ positions, subsequent to managing the enormous and first BLM-managed monument in the United States. Staszak most recently served as the Associate Deputy State Director of Resources, California State Office, Bureau of Land Management since January, 2012. There, she was responsible for oversight and direction to the resource programs within CA, with emphasis on realty and lands, withdrawals, recreation, wilderness, and National Landscape Conservation System programs.

Prior to that position, Staszak was the Associate Deputy State Director of Resources and the Lands Branch Chief in the Montana State Office of the BLM. She has worked in county, state and federal government positions in parks, recreation and natural resource management throughout her career in California, Montana, Idaho and Illinois.

If you were to highlight Staszak’ main interests, she loves paleontology and archeology. She believes in following the processes land managers are tasked with. The things she has always believed in her previous jobs are openness and integrity. And when not at work, what does she like to do? She enjoys spending time with her two daughters and granddaughter; hiking, camping, mountain biking and touring.

Staszak said being hired as the GSENM manager, facilitates the passion she has always had for working with people. “The job of a land manager is bringing together partnerships, and finding common solutions.”

She explained that while people may think differently on issues, partners are willing to work together to benefit the common resource. She praises the NEPA policy, and feels that it is a good policy to come to good decisions.

There are three main challenges Staszak believes she faces, managing the 1.88 million acre monument. Grazing being the most immediate. “The process has been controversial, but I think it’s going forward. We need to keep every effort to involve all partners and issues, and come up with a plan that considers all aspects of grazing and grazing heritage.”

“You never have enough staffing or funding,” Staszak states, when citing her second immediate challenge, considering doing land management on an area this large.

The third, and possibly the largest, challenge for Staszak, is managing the GSENM to be what the Proclamation laid out. “The challenge is finding the balance between. We must adhere to the Proclamation, and find a balance between that, and still being accepted.”

Staszak praises the current staff, and said they are incredible assets to the agency and the communities served in southern Utah. Her goals for the GSENM are accountability, integrity, public service, and operational excellence.

She cites a short term goal of achieving those goals.”I want to work to develop staff and monument to be more clear with its goals, objectives, missions, and visions. We then need to work toward achieving them, along with our partners.”

As for managing the resources, Staszak said there needs to be balances with protected areas. “The BLM does have some flexibility in interpreting that. “

In the long term, Staszak would like to see the many interests of the monument come together. “We need to get the moving parts together for good outreach to the community and healthy landscapes.”

“I’ve gotten my dream job in a fascinating place,” concluded Staszak. “I feel very fortunate.”