By Jake Lee Green
Kern Valley Sun
On October 9, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) announced that 1.5 million acres of California public lands will now be managed under 27 year career public servant Karen Mouritsen.
As California State Director Mouritsen will be tasked with leading a team that encompasses 15 percent of the state’s total land mass. Mouritsen came with experience having been the former BLM Eastern States Office Director. Of which, under her supervision had managed lands and minerals in 22 states east adjacent and east of the Mississippi River. She had also served as a Regional Facilitator for the Department of Interior reorganization effort. She is expected to begin her work in Sacramento, Calif. in January.
BLM Deputy Director for Policy and Programs, William Perry Pendley, said of her, “We are truly fortunate to have a professional with Karen Mouritsen’s passion and skill directing the BLM-California. Karen is a strong communicator with extensive leadership experience and her passion for America’s public lands make her the right person to lead the BLM-California as we move into the new decade.”
Mouritsen will lead a team that administers 15 million acres of public lands and 42 million acres of minerals and energy resources in California including many of our local recreation sites such as Keyesville, Chimney Peak Wilderness and Recreation Site, and the Owen’s Peak Segment of the Pacific Crest Trail which begins at Walker Pass.
She takes the position from her predecessor Joe Stout who returns to his duties as BLM-California State Director where he will continue to work closely with Mouritsen to ensure that generations of families and local communities continue to provide resources managed by the office to the State of California and its communities.
Having served in multiple key leadership roles in Washington, D.C. it is not hard to see that she comes with a lengthy resume within several BLM senior level positions. Some of which include: BLM Deputy Assistant Director for Energy, Minerals and Realty Management, BLM Budget Officer and BLM liaison to the Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management, in which she advised and briefed senior leaders on renewable energy, wilderness, land use and planning, wildlife, and cooperation in interagency efforts with military partners. She had also served as Acting Associate District Manager in the BLM Southern Nevada District Office in Las Vegas, as well as, the Medford District Office in Oregon. In addition, Mouritsen worked as Acting State Director in Alaska and New Mexico.
Mouritsen, who is a native of Dallas, Texas, received her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at Austin College of Engineering in 1983. While at University of Texas at Austin Law School she received her Juris Doctor degree in 1992 before launching her career in the federal government.